Feel free to disregard this whole post. I'll leave it up, but most of the ideas in it don't sit right with me, so I probably won't be using them.
Okay, so a thought came to me last night when I was trying to sleep. I'm recording it here because I think it needs to be said. So D&D 5E has three types of casters (not counting Divine Magic users and half-Casters), the Sorcerer, Wizard, and Warlock. The differences between these three can be neatly explained like this. If Magic is a high school class, the Sorcerer is coasting on their natural talent, the Wizard is studying hard after school, and the Warlock is having sex with the teacher.
But I also recently learned about Paper And Pencils' Magic Words System. Maybe I'll post something about that some other time. But essentially, it is about grabbing random words and combining them to make unique spells. Very cool stuff. And I wanted to add this to one of my games.
But while I feel that using Magic Words might work for a Shaman-type class, or for a game set before the dawn of recorded history, in a Mesopotamian, bronze blades and Ziggurats sort of setting, but not in a more traditional setting, one with real history and lots of history. So what to do, stick with boring spells?
No, I resolved that would not happen to me. So I decided to reorient myself. Here was my solution to this problem.
Sorcerers create spells.
Imagine every single humanoid with a soul (or a certain type of soul) has an invisible attribute. We'll call this Magical Sensitivity. This ability score goes from 3 to 18, just like any other.
Here's the scale.
3 = You essentially have no soul. Spiritual entities have a hard time noticing you. You likely don't have a strong belief in God. You cannot cast magic or use magical items. -1 spell damage per dice.
4-5 = Your soul is very weak. You are just big enough to be noticed, but not enough to be a threat.
Subtract -2 from any spell damage you take.
6-8 = Your soul is undersized, but it works. You are strong enough to participate in the Humble Art, use magic (though yours is weak), use magic items, and take normal damage from spells.
9-12 = Normal sized. Nothing special about you.
13-15 = Most Wizards come from here. You have a greater sensitivity to magic then most, and when lots of it is in the "air", you get bad feelings. People regard you as lucky, and most likely trust your hunches or gut feelings.
16-17 = You attract magical entities. You will likely be actively recruited by a Wizard's college, or find that the one mysterious woman who tumbled into bed with you has horns and a forked tail, and wants to make a deal with you.
18+ = You are a Sorcerer.
Note, I am considering removing INT as a stat and replacing it with Magic, MAG. But that seems very anime-ish, and something that over emphasizes magic. Maybe it would work in a setting like the one that houses API.
Now, to Clarify some Terms. Warlocks are essentially unchanged.
A Warlock is someone who has bonded with or made a magical pact with a spiritual entity. Depending on this entities' power, the relationship may be anywhere from partners-in-crime to master and servant. Warlocks only get one spell, but they do improved spell damage, can cast at-will, and get mutations handed down from their master. For example, if a Warlock's one spell is 'Conjure Snakes', then one of their mutations might be venomous fangs. Warlocks need at least a 9+ in Magical Sensitivity.
A Wizard is someone who has utilized their magical talent, and can cast effectively. However, a Wizard can only cast in specific ways. Essentially, a Wizard is someone who has taught themselves to cast magic, but in limited ways. For example, in this model, Wizards can still suffer Dooms, but they do not suffer Chaos, unless they step out of bounds and try and cast spells from a different tradition of magic. But it is only through such risks that the greatest Wizards are born. Wizards need at least a 12+ on their Magical Sensitivity.
A Sorcerer is someone who was born magic. They spoke their first words and flowers bloomed. When they threw a tantrum, people ran for their lives. Their toys came to life and their first crush was cursed with pubic lice. They are madmen and geniuses, terrors and symbols of hope. Sorcerers are special people, born once a century, and almost always find themselves at the crossroads of history. Many families are trying to breed the next Sorcerer, because while it would be incredibly dangerous, the potential reward is astronomical.
Sorcerers cast using the Magic Words system. They start with a number of Random Magic Words, which the GM and them can format into spells. These are spells of their own creation. Sorcerers can pull apart spells, destroy them utterly, or create them whole cloth. Almost all the most useful spells in the world were created by Sorcerers. Sorcerers may seem invincible, but even they have limits to their power. A Sorcerer starts with 3 Magic Dice, and gain +1d6 per level, up till level 9.
I will post actual class stuff and crunch some other time. Hopefully.