It’s been a fantasy of mine to play as a specialized blaster caster, one that deals the same type of (typically elemental) damage effectively and consistently. Think of popular pyromancers like Col. Roy Mustang, Azula, and the Human Torch, cryomancers like Frozone, Elsa, and Killer Frost, or electromancers like Cole McGarth, Emperor Palpatine, and Pikachu. D&D 5E offers elemental blaster casters like the Evocation Wizard or the Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer. But these subclasses does not fill the fantasy of mastering over one element, at least not at no cost. So the subclass that I provide here will be designed with that goal in mind.
1st-level sorcerer feature
You learn one additional cantrip and one additional 1st level spell, both from the sorcerer, warlock, or wizard spell list that deals either acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder damage. The spells that you gained from this feature count as sorcerer spells for you, but doesn’t count against the number of cantrips or sorcerer spells you know.
Whenever you gain a sorcerer level, you can replace the cantrip you learned from this feature with another cantrip that deals either acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder damage from the sorcerer, warlock, or wizard spell list. Alternatively, you can replace one 1st level spell or higher you gained from this feature with another 1st level spell or higher that deals either acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder damage. The spell can come from the sorcerer, warlock, or wizard spell list but must be from a level of which that you can cast.
You learn additional 1st level spells or higher from this feature when you reach certain levels in this class, two more at 5th level, and another two at 9th level.
The intent is to give this sorcerer a little bit of an expanded spell list, giving them access to Armor of Agathys and Hellish Rebuke among other spells. It also gives them a few more spells known. However, unlike the Aberrant Mind or Clockwork Soul Sorcerers, there are only 5 extra spells known, but they can come from any level that you can cast, not limited to 5th level spells.
1st-level sorcerer feature
Choose a damage type between acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder as your Elemental Power. When you take damage of your Elemental Power damage type, you can use your reaction to gain resistance to that damage type until the start of your next turn. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
Starting at 2nd level, you can spend 1 sorcery point to use this feature again while you have no uses of it.
This is a free pseudo Absorb Elements against one damage type. Almost as good as an innate resistance. Resistance I think is pretty strong, but generally situational. Limiting it to a resource I think is a decent compromise to make it comparable with the other subclasses at level 1.
6th-level sorcerer feature
When you deal damage with the damage type of your Elemental Power, you ignore resistances to that damage type.
In addition, you learn the Transmuted Spell Metamagic. If you already know the Transmuted Spell Metamagic, then you can learn another Metamagic option that you don’t already know. Furthermore, when you use the Transmuted Spell Metamagic to change a damage type into the damage type of your Elemental Power, you don’t need to spend a sorcery point. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a short or long rest.
This is the core of the subclass. I want to keep the free (but limited) Transmute Spell mechanic, because I think that’s the best way to achieve the fantasy of mastering over one element. But, I think ignoring resistances is a big deal. My first draft was to give totally free Transmute Spells at no cost, but with the option to ignore resistance by spending 1 sorcery point. But then I figured why not just transmute the spell? So now I switched it to provide an incentive for people to keep using the same damage type as their Elemental Power.
14th-level sorcerer feature
Once on each of your turns, when you deal damage with the damage type of your Elemental Power against one or more targets, you can spend 3 or more sorcery points and force a number of those targets to make a Constitution saving throw or receive the following effects, depending on your Elemental Power. The number of creatures you can target with this effect equals to the sorcery points spent divided by 3 (rounded down).
- Acid. On a failed save, the target is blinded and covered in acid for 1 minute. At the start of its turns while covered in acid, the target takes 3d4 acid damage. It can then make another Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.
- Cold. On a failed save, the target is frostbitten for 1 minute. While frostbitten, it’s movement speed is halved, and it makes its attacks and Strength and Dexterity checks and saving throws at disadvantage. It can then make another Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.
- Fire. On a failed save, the target catches on fire for 1 minute. At the start of its turns while it is on fire, it takes 3d8 fire damage. If the target or another creature within 5 feet of it uses an action to put out the flames, or if some other effect douses the flames, the effect ends.
- Lightning. On a failed save, the target is paralyzed for 1 minute. It can then make another Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.
- Poison. On a failed save, the target is poisoned for 1 minute. While poisoned this way, the target has disadvantage on Constitution checks and Constitution saving throws. It can then make another Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.
- Thunder. On a failed save, the target takes 3d12 thunder damage and is stunned until the end of your next turn. On a successful save, the target takes half the damage and is not stunned.
The hardest one to balance and compare. The intent is to just give a little oomph to elemental spells that you can even pull off with cantrips or big AOEs. But I haven’t exactly calculated the sorcery points costs and damage and condition tradeoff to see whether or not it’s balanced. I don’t mind if you omit this part from your answers, but any input is greatly appreciated.
18th-level sorcerer feature
You gain immunity to the damage type of your Elemental Power.
In addition, when you deal damage with the damage type of your Elemental Power using a 6th level spell slot or lower, you can a number of spend sorcery points equal to 1 + the level of the spell slot expended to deal maximum damage on the damage type of your Elemental Power for the duration of that spell. Any damage you deal from your Elemental Accent feature cannot be amplified this way.
This is taking the Evocation Wizard’s Overchannel feature, but turning it up a little. It’s limited to 6th level spells, not 5th level spells like the Evoker’s. Also it unambiguously affects spells with damage rolls on subsequent turns after casting, unlike the Overchannel feature.
There are some features that I am concerned about the balance of in this subclass. Comparing it to the Draconic Bloodline sorcerer helps, but they’re designed so differently. This is still an early 3rd draft, so I don’t mind scrapping some of the features, but I would like to keep a way to use Transmuted Spell Metamagic for free, even if it’s limited in use, so that sorcerers can cast any elemental spells using their chosen element. I guess if I had to pinpoint to a core design problem, is that I haven’t been able to find a way to incentivize players to keep using the same damage type other than ignoring resistances, which may or may not be too powerful.
Is this subclass balanced compared to the other sorcerer subclass?