Posted by : David Guyll September 30, 2013
The bit of flavor on them suggested that they carried the blood of dragons, but pretty much nothing about the class backed that claim up: they were basically wizards that just managed their spells in a slightly different way, material spell components and all.
Eventually articles in various Dragon magazines and I think Unearthed Arcana allowed you to burn one or more feats in order to gain minor benefits and access to additional spells, both on a per-day basis and to your list in general. On one hand it was something, but on the other 3rd Edition characters were incredibly feat-starved: picking up the entire tree would eat up about half your feats and levels.
Thematic bloodline features were something that should have been part of the class from the get-go...which is what they did when the sorcerer made its debut in 4th Edition: each spell source gave you an assortment of class features, they had a list of spells separate from the wizard, and your spell source could affect what various spells did (meaning that you were not forced to choose certain spells, but there were benefits to sticking with a theme).
Next's short-lived sorcerer was actually surprising in a very good way in that, unlike many other parts of the game, it did not bear a bunch of 3rd Edition mechanics seemingly just for the sake of it. In fact I think it was way cooler than 4th Edition's take, in particular how you would transform as you used magic. It got pulled a packet or two later, and after awhile of hoping that they were simply going to refine it discovered that it was getting rolled in with the warlock (which suffered a similar fate) as a mage subclass.
|That and giving fighter's nice things.|
It is because of this that I like that they are going to start grouping classes in categories in concept, but their method leaves a lot to be desired:
- Warriors are masters of arms and are tougher than other characters.
- Tricksters are experts in a variety of fields.
- Mages specialize in arcane magic.
- Priests specialize in divine magic.
This sounds a lot clunkier than 4th Edition's role/power source combo, even before dual-source/role classes became a thing, so much that the only reason that I can think as to why they would ignore it is because it was a 4th Edition thing. Think about it: if each class and class feature had a set of associated keywords, aspects, or tags they could easily design magic items, feats, and other options to be applicable to precisely what they want. When new stuff comes out, just attach the appropriate keywords, or add more as necessary.
In this system paladins would be martial and divine, rangers would be martial and maybe primal if you wanted to add in some nature magic, and bards would be martial and arcane. Bard spells might have a "song" keyword, but you could also make divine songs that evoke the feel of a chant or hymn, or even primal shouts for barbarians (or just make shout its own thing). Then you could make a magical lute that works with either arcane songs, or just songs in general.
Ultimately this development has got me...tentatively intrigued by Next, because even if it is clunky and shortsighted it looks like they are taking steps to making a good game, instead of one largely shackled to legacy mechanics, just with better art.