After playing 5e for a few years, one complaint I have heard the most from old school players is that the sorcerer class feels weak compared to the other spellcasting classes. Sure some of the bloodlines seem weak however, that is true for all the class archetypes. So what could be making the sorcerer class feel so underpowered? The answer to that is their spellcasting itself. He is my alternative sorcerer spellcasting rule for 5e.
For those who just started with 5th edition, spell casting used to work very differently. Ironically the one class where spellcasting did not change was the sorcerer. Back in the day, most classes had to choose the spells they wanted for the day and how many of that spell they wanted. For example, a cleric who wished to buff all allies with aid twice that day would have to prepare that spell twice. Sorcerers were an exception. While limited to a few spells you could cast them like you do in 5th edition.
That poses a problem. As a cleric, you can choose the spells you want that day and cast any one of them if you have the slot available. As a sorcerer, you are stuck with the spells you chose until you level up. The versatility sorcerer’s once enjoyed is given to the other casters who do it better.
How to Fix
The way to go about fixing this is to make the way sorcerers cast spells be unique and versatile the way it once was. Wizards attempted to correct this with the sorcerer’s flexible casting. Still, to other players, I have talked to the ability seems to fall flat a little. To do this, I have to modify the ability Font of Magic to avoid conflicts.
We all know upcasting is where you can expend a higher-level spell slot to cast a lower-level spell. Downcasting is using a higher-level spell slot to cast a lower-level spell. This will allow sorcerers to cast spells that can’t be upcast, giving them a bit more flexibility.
Downcasting modifies the Flexible Spellcasting rules.
As part of casting the spell, subtract the spell slot you are using with the spell slot you want to cast. The number difference gets transferred into your spell points as long as you have the capacity for them. All overflow is discarded. This ability is used when casting the spell and does not take any separate action. I find doing this is way more versatile in combat then needing to use two bonus actions to convert a slot to sorcerer points than back to a slot.
For example, you are being attacked and want to cast the 1st level spell shield; however, you only have a 3rd level spell slot left. You cast the spell using the 3rd level slot then subtract 3 from 1 to get 2 spell sorcery points added to your pool.
Flexible casting revisions
Creating spell slots is the only thing that is kept from flexible casting. As stated above, downcasting is done as part of the action the spell uses. The same is true for creating spell slots. Converting sorcery points to spell slots is part of the action used to cast the spell. I think that this saves time and fits with the story of them harnessing the magic that is in them to create these effects.
The sorcery points required for spell slots stay the same.
You may be thinking, what happens if you multiclass with these rules? Multiclassing should not be a problem. Since downcasting is a more streamlined version of the flexible casting rules, you can multiclass as you would a regular sorcerer.
Using this rule, the spell sot to sorcery point conversion is more forgiving. Before, if you turned a 5th level slot into points, you would not be able to cast a 4th level spell. With this, however, you can. This definitely gives your sorcerer more flexibility, which I believe will make for a more fun experience.