Well, sure, the sorcerer does not have the hassle of choosing daily what his spells wil be, but he has damn few spells known and he has to choose them once, when he changes levels, and his ability to change a useless known spell for a better one is rather limited... while I envy the sorcerers enhanced slots per day, I still like the wizard a lot... of course, I love the d&d3.5 natural evolution from the wizard through the sorcerer, namely the Warlock... damn few powers, but at will, and an at will attack spell that scales with levels is nice.
I remember thinking on this a while back with respect to the Oracle. Suppose 9th level casting is too much energy for a low-HD character to contain (Empower shows it scales exponentially, so we can restrict this to the highest levels of casting). Clerics, Druids, Shamans, Witches and Arcanists receive their spells at a low enough rate that they never have to worry about overflow. Psychics, Oracles, and Sorcerers get there magic more discretely, and it affects their abilities. Effectively, whatever is used to contain the magic at the outset becomes redundant as the power of the soul itself (I.e. number of HD) rises. In all three of these classes, there are a themed set of abilities gained at specific levels that relate to how that aspect is no longer needed for containment. Effectively, a sorcerer has significantly more magical aptitude than just the presence of a bloodline (that would be the Eldritch Heritage feats) and a loose outline of their spells as early as level 1. As they advance, more of that magical energy can be controlled into casting, and the bloodline is more free to affect the sorcerer directly. This occurs similarly for the Oracle's Curse and the Psychic's Disciplines.
Moonheart, while I agree that knowing which setting was the default for D&D is not necessarily important to the point of the thread, I brought it up to counter your idea that Sorcery Magic in 3.x comes from the ideas of Forgotten Realms. Do you ever see Gandalf or any other big wizard in fantasy using a spell book, or just casting off of spells they know?
... why do Sorcerers cast spells?
I dunno. Why is there a read magic spell?
You would think that a class that cast spells through the power of their own blood, or some other non-academic method, wouldn't be able to get such a spell. However, such a spell is useful for Wizards and other similar spell casters. Somehow the Sorcerer spell list is identical to that of an academic spell caster, which might imply that academic method is somehow the natural way spells work. The read magic works because there is an established system of magic and a language of how it works. Even the Druid is a prepared spell caster, not a spontaneous spell caster. It should be noted that some prepared spell casters (Cleric and Druid) can cast a few spells spontaneously, so spontaneous spell casting method is not entirely unique to the sorcerer.
Mind you, some of the above is my attempt to justify the rules already there, not to enhance the theme of sorcerers.
Anybody else ever felt a disconnect between the sorc's mechanics and what they're supposed to be?
No... OK maybe yes. In DND 3.0, I thought that the sorcerer spell casting method filled a new role, a different way of casting spells. They focused on a select few spells so much that they could cast such spells without preparing them. No other class ever focused that hard on spontaneous spell casting.
I saw being able to cast spells through the power of their blood was an explanation they used because they couldn't find a better explanation. Then Pathfinder came along and made in-the-blood explanation literally true. Every Sorcerer now has to pick a bloodline. No other back story could exist. I liked having no definitive answer better, because I could fill the empty space with my own ideas.
I'm digging this thread. But that's not all I came here to say.
I love spontaneous casters. But I've also always had a penchant for thematically building them. As a GM, I used to get pretty annoyed when a player would build a pyromancer of sorcerer and go, "But I know mage armor." Really?
But I then I got to thinking about "the nature of magic" and how things look. And I got less stuck on spells being exactly what they are. So now, if I build a caster, I tend to refluff a spell. Today, if I were playing a pyromancer, and I wanted mage armor on my list of spells known, I'd tell the GM, "So really, I want it to be essentially a heat related wall of force. It does exactly what the spell states, no added heat damage or anything, but I'm just manipulating fire to do the force armor thing."
When it comes to using materials...doesn't a sorcerer have eschew materials? So the bat guano and the swallowing a spider thing don't compute. I like the idea of feeling an affinity for the costly materials for adding necessary energy to spell.
I'm also all about refluffing now. I play an oracle. I won't bore you with the backstory, but know he isn't excited about being what he is, and doesn't even know why he can do the things he does. When he casts bless, his somatic component is to twirl his spear, and slam the butt onto the ground. His verbal component is to shout "Stand Firm", because he's a former soldier and that's just how he expels the energy necessary to cause the bless effect. I've told my DM about it, and likes it. We've even added the whole "whooshing air" effect as it extends out to the 50 ft area it affects.
I'm with you on Refluffing spells, I usually do it for all my characters. Like my Imperious Bloodline Sorcerer's Mage Armor (such an easy example to use) appeared as golden armor with a crown hovering above his head. My Scarab themed Beastmorph Alchemist would use Shield and it would give his skin a Chitinous look, or if in his Mutagen form, made the Chitin iridescent.