Sorcerer Class Preview

Monday, July 9, 2018

Their magical blood gives sorcerers their spellcasting power, and it's been a major part of the class since Pathfinder's inception. So for the Pathfinder Playtest, we're going all in: your character's bloodline determines her spell list!

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Bloodlines

You pick your bloodline at 1st level, which tells you which spell list you use: arcane, divine, primal, or occult (the last of the four magical traditions, which we'll cover in a future blog!). It also defines some of the spells you know. For instance, the demonic bloodline gives you the divine spell list and the fear spell at 1st level, in addition to two other spells that you choose yourself from the divine list. In some cases, the special spells from your bloodline come from other lists. For example, the demonic bloodline gives you slow when you learn 3rd-level spells (for the sin of sloth) and disintegrate when you learn 6th-level spells. There are a couple more. How about we look at that whole bloodline entry and you can make your own guesses about which ones are from other lists?

Demonic

The demons of the Abyss debase all they touch, and one of your ancestors fell victim to their corruption. You're burdened with dark thoughts and the desire for destruction. This urge can be overcome if you choose to fight it, but the beauty of sin calls to you always.

Spell List divine (Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook 200)

Signature Skills Athletics, Deception, Intimidation, Religion

Granted Spells Cantrip: detect magic; 1st: fear; 2nd: resist energy; 3rd: slow; 4th: divine wrath; 5th: banishment; 6th: disintegrate; 7th: divine decree; 8th: power word stun; 9th: meteor swarm

Bloodline Powers Initial Power: glutton's jaws; Advanced Power: swamp of sloth (2); Greater Power: abyssal wrath (2)

You can see that the bloodline also determines your most important skills and gives you some bloodline powers. We've talked about powers before (see the cleric preview. These are special spells you can get only from specific classes, and they are cast using Spell Points rather than spell slots. They also automatically heighten to the highest level of spell you can cast. You start out with a number of Spell Points per day equal to your Charisma modifier, and if you have the demonic bloodline, you gain the glutton's jaws power, which you can cast at a cost of 1 Spell Point.

Glutton's Jaws Power 1

Necromancy

Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting

Duration 1 minute


Your mouth transforms into a shadowy maw bristling with pointed teeth. These jaws grant you an unarmed attack you're trained in, dealing 1d6 piercing damage. They have the finesse trait.

Attacks with your jaws have the following enhancement.

Enhancement If the target was living, gain 1d4 temporary HP.

Heightened (2nd) Your jaws gain the effects of a +1 weapon potency rune (a +1 item bonus to attack rolls and an additional damage die) and the temporary Hit Points increase to 2d4.

Heightened (4th) The jaws gain the effects of a +2 weapon potency rune and the temporary Hit Points increase to 3d4.

Heightened (6th) The jaws gain the effects of a +3 weapon potency rune and the temporary Hit Points increase to 4d4.

Heightened (8th) The jaws gain the effects of a +4 weapon potency rune and the temporary Hit Points increase to 5d4.

At higher levels, you'll get to make a swampy morass that makes creatures slothful or call forth the dangers of an Abyssal realm.

The number of bloodlines in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook is fairly small, since we want to see how people react to the new style of the class with just a subset of the bloodlines. In the book, you'll see the following bloodlines: aberrant (occult), angelic (divine), demonic (divine), draconic (arcane), fey (primal) and imperial (arcane). That last one comes from the magical traditions of ancient mortals and matches our iconic sorcerer, Seoni!

Spontaneous Spellcasting

This is our first preview of a spontaneous spellcaster! The sorcerer gets the same number of spells per day as a wizard, but she has a number of spells she knows permanently instead of preparing them from a spellbook every day. The spells she knows make up her spell repertoire. That means she can choose which spell to cast each time she casts a spell instead of needing to plan ahead. It's worth noting that the sorcerer now learns spells at the same character level as the wizard: 2nd-level spells at 3rd level, 3rd-level spells at 5th level, and so on.

As you level up, you learn new spells and can replace some of the spells you previously had with new ones. This lets you get rid of some spells that were great options when they were at your highest level but maybe aren't worth casting anymore.

The sorcerer's spellcasting is based on her inborn magical potency, so she uses her Charisma for her spell rolls and spell DCs. Because Charisma also adds to Resonance Points, the sorcerer can make up for some of her limited spell choice compared to the wizard's spellbook by supplementing her spell selection with more scrolls, staves, and wands.

Sorcerer Features

Many of the sorcerer's class features were explained under bloodline, as most of them tie back to that choice. The sorcerer gains her advanced power at 6th level and her greater bloodline power at 10th level. As with other spellcasters, her proficiency with spell rolls and spell DCs increases to expert at 12th level, master at 16th, and legendary at 19th.

The sorcerer gets one other class feature, called spontaneous heightening. As mentioned before, some spells in your lower-level spell slots get less useful as you go up in level. However, there are some spells you might want to cast with any of your slots. The spontaneous heightening feature lets you choose two spells at the start of each day that you can cast as their heightened versions using any of your spell slots. That means that if you want your angelic sorcerer to be able to cast 1st-level heal, 2nd-level heal, and 3rd-level heal, you can choose your 1st-level heal spell with spontaneous heightening rather than needing to learn the spell in your spell repertoire at all three spell levels. Then you can cast a 1st-level heal to top off someone's Hit Points when they're almost at full and still cast a 3rd-level heal in the middle of a fight to really save someone from the brink!

Sorcerer Feats

The sorcerer's feats primarily deal with her spells. Sorcerers get metamagic feats, many of which they share with other casters. One we haven't shown off yet is Overwhelming Spell at 8th level, which lets a spell that deals acid, cold, electricity, or fire damage ignore the first 10 points of a target's resistance.

If you want to make a blaster, you can pick up Dangerous Sorcery, which increases the damage of your spells by their spell level (with the exception of cantrips). You can also take Blood Magic at 8th level, which uses the magical potential in your blood to grant temporary Hit Points to you or a target of your spell if you're bleeding when you cast it.

One of my favorite cycles of feats are the evolution feats, which reinforce the themes of each magical tradition. Arcane Evolution makes your arcane sorcerer trained in a skill and lets you add a spell from a scroll to your spell repertoire for the day when you prepare each morning. Divine Evolution lets you channel energy like a cleric. Occult Evolution gives you a skill and lets you pick a spell with the mental trait to add to your repertoire each day. Finally, Primal Evolution lets you cast summon nature's ally as an innate spell once per day at the highest spell level you can cast.

How about a 20th-level feat? Sorcerers can take a feat to gain 10th-level spells of their tradition, but you might want to look at other options, like Wellspring Spell. This metamagic feat lets you cast a 5th-level or lower spell once per minute without expending the spell slot!

What sort of predictions do you have for the bloodlines? What spells will they get? Does this new scheme make you more or less likely to play a sorcerer? Do you want to try out a gnome fey sorcerer? How about an angelic sorcerer with the heal spell? Let us know in the comments, and start preparing for when you get the book!

Logan Bonner
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Seoni Sorcerers Wayne Reynolds
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It's all happening! This pretty neat. Though I do worry that rolling all(?) of the spontaneous casters into a single class is a bit of overgrouping and doesn't give them as much room to make their possible feats more niche.

In addition, we're missing one spell list... Still have Bard to go, but they don't seem very "occult" to me... Kinda curious there. Seems like bards might end up being spell-less...


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OMG... Spell list determined by bloodlines, that's amazing!


Oh hey, something to read.


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Ha! This is so cool. I love all of this. Primal Evolution may need a bit of a buff, though. The others are more flexible.


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I LOVE it. I am really excited about fully decoupling Sorcerer from just "wizard but spontaneous." This really makes Sorcerer the most versatile class in the game! I do wish that the Bloodline Powers went past level 10. Also I hope that there are bloodline themed class feats, really delving deep into the "I have Demon blood!" aspect of the class.

Is it August yet?


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Wow. Just wow. This... This is nice. I...I don't know what exactly to say yet, but this is good.


Nice


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A ballsy move by Paizo thats for sure, and with the possibility of having a divine magical tradition, things are looking interesting for the Oracle....


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Does this mean Sorcerers can also be Oracles and Psychics and Shamans?


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Homerun.


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That's quite the change, sorcerers having four options for types of magic. And *primal* magic? Haven't seen that before. I'm intrigued.

I was (still am) hoping that the Oracle class remained an option in a future release, if not core, but a divine sorcerer overlaps so much mechanically with what Oracle was that I have to wonder if they have a future.


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Okay... I've rarely wanted to play sorcerers, but this is cool, IMO.

Sovereign Court

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Looks like it James.
Rolling all spontaneous casters into one class.

The Exchange

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Looks great. I look forward to the play test.


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Yay!


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This certainly seems thematic, I like it. I also love the concept of the evolution feats. Selective heightening is strange but I'm glad it means some spontaneous heightening is possible. Also, not sure if anyone noticed buuuuuuuut...

blog wrote:
Occult Evolution gives you a skill and lets you pick a spell with the mental trait to add to your repertoire each day.

I don't know about you guys, but that sounds like occult Bard to me.


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I just have to say WOW...this is actually the first class blog that has me go wow instead of meh (TBF, extra blog about fighters was good). Very nice job, Paizo.


I anticipate Oracle Feats that represent sorcerer-ness being inflicted on somebody by something other than heritage. Feats that deliver potentially stronger abilities, but also carry hinderances in the bargain.

Shadow Lodge

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I've been unimpressed with many of the changes thus far, but this does a good job of keeping the class's core identity, while greatly upgrading it.

Well done.


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Stone Dog wrote:
I anticipate Oracle Feats that represent sorcerer-ness being inflicted on somebody by something other than heritage. Feats that deliver potentially stronger abilities, but also carry hinderances in the bargain.

I like that idea. A feat (or Archetype, so series of feats) that provide a good bonus, but comes with an anathema as well.


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I don't think we will have to wait long for occult classes to come to 2nd edition if they already have an Occult list of spells. Can't wait to see what classes they do after core.


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I was concerned when I heard you needed to know a spell at a higher level to cast it there so spontaneous heightening is a relief. But what is the logic behind them not being able to do this all the time? Is it too much of an advantage over a wizard or does it present too many options to a player when selecting which spell to cast?


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Tim Statler wrote:

Looks like it James.

Rolling all spontaneous casters into one class.

I kinda hope not. One of the best things about some of the spontaneous casters in PF1 was that you could build the more martially inclined. If the sorcerer's feats are all about casting, you couldn't really do a battle shaman or metal oracle properly. I sort of wonder if any of the other kinds of casting are 100% compatible with armor like they were in PF1, come to think of it.

Plus they have hinted in other comments about how the Occultist is going to be a class later on in PF2 and that's absolutely a spontaneous caster.


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Very cool! Hopefully “same number of spells per day as the Wizard” includes school spells. I also hope Fey adds enough enchantment and illusion spells to round out the primal spell list.

Can’t wait for more bloodlines in the final version.


That's pretty cool, and I like it in theory.
Next month, it will be nice to see it on paper, and see my players put it into practice.


Having never played a PF1 sorceror, I'll be looking at this as an option to play. Very interesting.


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If Divine Sorcerers replace Oracles, can they still wear armor and cast? I have really liked having melee combat Oracles.


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This is everything I wanted from this class in PF2. Well. Freakin'. Done.


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looks great, now I just need to find out how many hp per lvl do they get and what weapons proficiency natural or otherwise they can get, to see if it is actually possible to play the demonic/draconic melee sorcerer without being a liability to the party

Sovereign Court

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I really like the link between bloodline and spell lists. It just makes sense.


After a cursory read, it looks interesting and flavorful. Almost "blank-slate" like, even, which is neat.

I'll give a more in-depth review later on today, but my biggest concern right off the bat is with how multiclassing works in relation to how frontloaded all of those Bloodline abilities are.

Until we know for sure how multiclassing works (and it disallows frontload abuse), it's a glaring issue.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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Definitely wasn't expecting Sorcerers to have access to any spell list. Not sure I'm a fan of the idea. It certainly will make converting PF1 sorcerers with certain bloodlines a lot harder. Seems like this might be the single biggest class change in PF2 so far - and limits sorcerers because of this. Yes, it lets you effectively roll the oracle into the sorcerer class now and not need a separate class, but now you simply can't create an arcane sorcerer with all of the bloodline choices you could before, nor can you make a divine sorcerer (oracle) with all of the options either. I don't think I like this change. At the very least, I would hope demonic changes to arcane - demons are far more about throwing destructive spells around, which is a mainstay of arcane magic rather than divine. I can see keeping angelic as divine, since so many good outsiders already cast spells as clerics in PF1.

Other specific things which stood out:

1) What happened to bloodline powers where aren't spells and grant permanent abilities? Seems like they're gone, which is limiting in the design space I think. I'd much prefer the ability to have some powers be spells like they are in PF1, but others be simply improvements which are always on. I guess you can do this with bloodline specific class feats, but so far I haven't heard those exist.
2) For the bloodline powers in demonic bloodline, what does the (2) mean after swamp of sloth and abyssal wrath? Do these cost 2 spell points instead of 1?
3) The progression of glutton's jaws seems quick. At 2nd level, when you're a 3rd level character they count as +1? Is that the level characters are expected to have a +1 weapon? With this granting the extra damage die, it seems faster than I'd have expected, especially for a class not as expected to be in melee. Sure a martial class might have a +1 weapon at 3rd level, but would a wizard or bard (or in this case a sorcerer)?
4) Is the imperial bloodline supposed to replace the arcane bloddline? It would be a bit weird naming to have an arcane bloodline with the (arcane) spell list printed as Arcane (arcane), but I'm not a huge fan of imperial as a name.
5) Why do you need to replace spells as you level up "lets you get rid of some spells that were great options when they were at your highest level but maybe aren't worth casting anymore"? I thought PF2 spells all had built in heightening which makes them useful at all levels now.
6) I'm 100% confused by spontaneous heightening. Doesn't spontaneous casting already let you do this? I thought when you learned a spell you learned all versions of it already and could prepare it at any heightened level, so for a spontaneous caster you can do this already without it being a separate class ability.


I'm not entirely sure about spontaneous hightening, I guess I would go with the same spells in most cases
ecerything else reads pretty awesome and I like the concept of an interchangable spell list - that actually suits the concept of inherited magic way more then the average always arcane sorcerer pf1 had


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Loving it. Will the playtest have a 'cursed' archetype so that we can make an oracle right out of the gates?

Dark Archive

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As others have suggested, this helps refine the class' identity, taking it in the right direction.


So with the sorcerer spread between all four spell lists, I really wonder how much cross-listing there is between these lists. Like "heal" is probably not on the arcane list, but sorcerers of all types should be able to cast detect or dispel magic, right?

Liberty's Edge

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OMG it's all so cool. I already loved playing a sorcerer in PF1 and this looks even better

Drools and salivates


Woohoo I called the mergeing of the oracle and sococer *insert self smugness here*. Personally I am glad for it as if you realy think about it what rally was the difference between orcales and socercers. Also it means we get a spontaous caster of all types in the core.

Silver Crusade

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Spell proficiency seems to increase really late though. Expert at 12th? At 13th a fighter is already at legendary with his weapon...

All other things look really cool!


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Pretty sweet. Some folks were predicting the divine sorcerer being an option, but I wouldn't have dreamed they could get all 4 lists. I wonder what that means for the spell lists being balanced against each other, and if sorcerers are still as frail as wizards. That Glutton's Jaw sure looks meant to mix it up in melee, so maybe the divine bloodline gets you 8 HP per level?

Spontaneous Heightening sounds pretty great. Glad they can swap the spells out each day. That closes the prepared gap a lot.

Little bummed they only get the same number of spellslots as the wizard, but I'll wait to see that in practice I guess. (Hopefully, "the same number" accounts for school slots and draining the arcane reservoir at least.)

I hope blasting damage is looking all right. I've been optimistic, but those feats leave me a little underwhelmed at first glance. (Though, if Dangerous Sorcery works off each seperate "hit" for a spell, Heightened Magic Missile is gonna be awesome.)

Really liking that new Seoni-- great job Wayne!

I'm curious how that bigger resonance pool will impact sorc play-- comes back to a lot of stuff we don't know about magic item access.


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Bloodlines were the archetype for Archetypes and where Paizo initially started pushing boundaries in first edition. Looks like Sorcerers still keep that position of pushing the boundaries in second edition.


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I am really excited about the sorcerer changes. This seems really solid as far as class design. My wife will also be pleased, if for no other reason than because she loves spontaneous healers, but hated the oracle's curse.

Although I have to complain about the use of the kludgy 'spontaneous heightening' feature in lieu of Occult Adventure's very generous and reasonable 'under-casting' rules. I don't like the idea of having to devote multiple Spells Known slots (or even spell book pages) to multiple tiers of the same spell. However this is far from a deal-breaker.


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Rek Rollington wrote:
I was concerned when I heard you needed to know a spell at a higher level to cast it there so spontaneous heightening is a relief. But what is the logic behind them not being able to do this all the time? Is it too much of an advantage over a wizard or does it present too many options to a player when selecting which spell to cast?

In the internal playtesting, it did create some balance issues with the wizard, yes. But the other thing was that it essentially gave too many choices mid-battle for most players to be comfortable with, and made the sorcerer less fun to play. Considering the sorcerer is supposed to be the easier to learn caster with less book keeping, there's definitely some wisdom in that.

Liberty's Edge

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Mimo Tomblebur wrote:
If Divine Sorcerers replace Oracles, can they still wear armor and cast? I have really liked having melee combat Oracles.

Armor does not impact casting in the playtest, not even for Wizards ;-)


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Quote:
If you want to make a blaster, you can pick up Dangerous Sorcery, which increases the damage of your spells by their spell level (with the exception of cantrips).

Yikes. I predicted in the blasting thread many weeks back that we'd see something like the +1/2 level to damage ability that Starfinder's Technomancers can take as a magic hack, but I never suspected it would be even weaker than that.


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I'm curious on why there isn't undercasting as an option for sorcs in addition to their spontaneous heightening. A sorc that knows heal 5, should be able to cast heal 3, and heal 1 without additional costs, whereas a sorc that knows heal 1 should need to pay a cost (one of their spontaneous heightening spell choices) to be able to cast heal 3, and heal 5.

Is there a reason undercasting doesn't seem to exist for them?


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These changes are great. Now if you want to play a spontaneous caster, there is one place to look and you can fill a variety of character themes with the same infrastructure.

The biggest question I have is with the spontaneous heightening class feature. It seems to imply that in order to cast a heightened spell without the class feature, you must have the spell added to your repertoire at the level you want it heightened. Does that mean I could learn heal as a 3rd level spell and never be able to cast it at anything but that unless I select it with the class feature for the day?

-Edit- Yeah that's definitely how it works. Thats pretty cool actually, you can relearn your heals or your magic missles at higher levels to keep them relevant, then select them with the spontaneous heightening for the day if you think your going to need to expend more spell slots on them.

It creates a balancing act of commodities vs. power depending on what your going for. Im a big fan!

Contributor

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I'm glad to see the "bloodline determines spell list" mechanic. I was hoping that would be the case for the sorcerer, but its always a question of, "Will they kill this sacred cow?" :)

I agree with many other people in this thread that spontaneous heightening just seems like an inelegant version of Occult Adventure's undercasting mechanic. Considering its an ability that simply helps the sorcerer with a problem that its cleric and wizard cousins don't ever have to worry about, the conservative route for this ability is puzzling.

Sovereign Court

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I like the look of things! We'll see how I feel once I've seen the draconic bloodline. ^_^


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Really, really nice. This is going to be a popular class, I think. Probably the easiest entry into spellcasting classes, and still with plenty of flavors and options. In fact, I'm now slightly worried it might outshine the wizard in sheer coolness. Kudos!

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