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The (almost) Complete Guide to Sorcerers- a practical handbook


Advice

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Welcome to my first Handbook paizo messageboard members. I wrote this noting that many people reading Treantmonk's guide to wizards were in need of Sorcerer specific advice. Being no stranger to optimization; being a longtime lurker an sometimes poster at the Wizards forums; I set about to write a guide, and announced as such. had I known the difficulty in such a task, I might have thought twice, but as it was I wrote it.

And here it is:The (almost) Complete Guide to Sorcerers.

You may note the (almost) in the title. The reasons for this caveat are twofold- First, there are sections that may one day be added- like a guide of equipment or prestige classes- which I deemed less important than other things. And Second I left out a spell guide. Why? -you may ask, and rightly so, as spells are the most important class feature a full caster has, no matter how nice and shiny the bloodlines are. But my reasoning is thus- Treanmonk already wrote the end-all guide to arcane spells(Treantmonk's Guide to Pathfinder Wizards: Being a God. ), and I couldn't so it justice. Yes, some spells have a different level of usefulness for a sorcerer than a wizard, but there is a guide for that here Ogre's guide to Sorcerer Spell Selection.

So there you have it, between our three guides you should have all the information you need to create an amazing sorcerer. And if you disagree with my recommendations- please tell me! Nothing proves a class's usefulness more than playing it, so please send me you opinions, agree or disagree. As long as your comments and criticism are constructive, I welcome them.

Sincerely yours,
The Minstrel in the Gallery


Tull rules.


Netromancer wrote:
Tull rules.

i can tell that you sir, are a man or worth- not only do you recognize the name, you appreciate it.


Also good to see someone doing a fair amount of thinking on the Sorceror. I honestly have never used them, but seeing Pathfinder's take on the class I have been re-thinking their role the possibilities the class now has. Their innate brand of magic is a rough fit for my campaign, but I actually might play a Fey Sorceror in a friends game. Nice job though, very objective and straight forward.

Just try not to polarize the pumpkin-eaters :)


In 3.5 I had a hard time playing a straight sorcerer- no class features, but now I can't imagine taking a prestige class.

Is it okay if I pacify the nappy-suffering, infant-bleating one-line jokers?


Personally I'd put Halfling on a par with gnome, in terms of races for the Sorcerer class, simply because a higher Dexterity score means that you get a higher initiative result and if you go before the enemy you may not have to eat a Fortitude save or lose hit points...

Umm, with regard to feats I'm not very clear on why should it matter what a Wizard thinks of the Craft Magic Arms & Armour to a Sorcerer?

Sorcerer guide wrote:
...Craft Magic Arms and Armor: The most common magic items to find in the game, however, there could be some definite value to this if someone in your party uses a rare style of weapon, and you can't buy magic items, but for most wizards this isn't worthwhile...

I'm not sure if you're saying maybe the sorcerer should take the feat because the wizard likely won't take it, or if you have mixed up Wizard and Sorcerer?

I would have liked to have seen some commentary/reflection on the roles available to a sorcerer, not least because an Arcane bloodline Sorcerer has a better chance of making enemies fail a save in their favourite class of spells than the Wizard does (all other things such as prime stat for spellcasting, items, and feats for Spell Focus being equal). To a lesser extent, so do Fey and Infernal bloodline Sorcerers, although I do not rate these so highly as there are a lot of creatures out there respectively immune to either compulsions or to charms.
(By the way, I don't know where you get the figure of +6 to DC which you cite in your thoughts on School Power for Arcane Bloodline: School Power is +2, Spell Focus +1, Greater Spell Focus +1; Indeed Spell Focus & Greater Spell Focus have each been only +1 since 3.5, although I think that they may have been +2 back in 3.0...)

Anyway, keep working on it.... :)


Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Personally I'd put Halfling on a par with gnome, in terms of races for the Sorcerer class, simply because a higher Dexterity score means that you get a higher initiative result and if you go before the enemy you may not have to eat a Fortitude save or lose hit points...

Personally I rate the con bonus of gnome as equal to the dex bonus- if this were the only criteria, they'd be tied. I rate the gnome higher due to the +1 to illusion DC's- which I see as better than any of the halfling features for a sorcerer. The halfling is a close third- they make excellent sorcerers.

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Umm, with regard to feats I'm not very clear on why should it matter what a Wizard thinks of the Craft Magic Arms & Armour to a Sorcerer?

Simple as I stated in the guide I copied and pasted Treantmonk's ratings on itemcrafting feats. I merely forgot to swap out wizard for sorcerer. Good catch, I'll fix it.

In my opinion, Item crafting isn't ever better for sorcerers- save for creating wands and staves for a mephit familiar.

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
I would have liked to have seen some commentary/reflection on the roles available to a sorcerer, not least because an Arcane bloodline Sorcerer has a better chance of making enemies fail a save in their favorite class of spells than the Wizard does (all other things such as prime stat for spellcasting, items, and feats for Spell Focus being equal). To a lesser extent, so do Fey and Infernal bloodline Sorcerers, although I do not rate these so highly as there are a lot of creatures out there respectively immune to either compulsions or to charms.

I didn't include this for the simple reason that I haven't fully made up my mind on these sorts of things entirely- my first priority was getting the abilities analyzed in a vacuum. This kind of advice is rather subjective, and I was hoping to get some feedback before giving it.

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
(By the way, I don't know where you get the figure of +6 to DC which you cite in your thoughts on School Power for Arcane Bloodline: School Power is +2, Spell Focus +1, Greater Spell Focus +1; Indeed Spell Focus & Greater Spell Focus have each been only +1 since 3.5, although I think that they may have been +2 back in 3.0...)

Gah! you're right! I mixed up its bonus with spell penetration (I thought they matched for some reason) fixed.


This looks quite nice and is a handy guide, thank you for writing it. I did chuckle at the red indicator for a dwarf sorcerer as one of my players chose that lineup, but really, it isn't all that bad and this player choice is part of the backstory of the character. The dwarf's family delved too deep in the wrong cavern and ran into something that wasn't meant to be uncovered. With the advent of 3.0 and beyond any race can be anything much easier than before, even as a devout oldschooler I can appreciate that.


MinstrelintheGallery wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Personally I'd put Halfling on a par with gnome, in terms of races for the Sorcerer class, simply because a higher Dexterity score means that you get a higher initiative result and if you go before the enemy you may not have to eat a Fortitude save or lose hit points...
Personally I rate the con bonus of gnome as equal to the dex bonus- if this were the only criteria, they'd be tied. I rate the gnome higher due to the +1 to illusion DC's- which I see as better than any of the halfling features for a sorcerer. The halfling is a close third- they make excellent sorcerers...

Not a big fan of illusion spells myself, (except for the invisibility variants), but fair point, and I see you have now updated to specifically highlight that. ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nice work dude.

Highlights the major problems with the class, some of those spells are painfully poor! I didn't want to play one before, and I still don't!

In the games I run, I have removed the spell lag that Sorcerers and Bards suffer and I'm still going to opt for a Wizard every time. But hey, some people love the Sorcerer and that's cool with me.


Quote:
A Minstrel's Take on God's Hot Sister

Brilliant! Great way to start the guide.

Quote:
Empower Spell:

The rumor I heard is that Jason says that you only multiply the die roll by 1.5, so with your summon example - you could use a 9th level spell slot to summon as little as 3 lions.

Not that it really matters how many lions you summon. How many creatures are you going to hit with Dire Lions at levels 18+ anyways?

Lions have a +13 attack (+15 with Augment summoning), you could have used that SMIX to summon 2 Nalfeshnee demons at +23 (+25) - they might actually hit. (I won't even go into damage...but look at damage). Or if you want the die roll, 3 to 6 T Rex's, each with +20 to hit (+22) for 4d6+22 (+25) damage each...

Even if you luck out and get the 14 - is that really going to make much difference at that level?

Most importantly - your summon spell has a 1 round casting time, and under the rules for applying metamagic to spells that have longer than a one standard action casting time - you need to add 1 full round action. So by the time your lions appear - 2 rounds have passed. Not so hot.

IMO.

Quote:
Quicken Spell: One of the most useful ones on the list...

I didn't realize this had changed in Pathfinder. Excellent catch! Not being able to use quicken spell was a large disadvantage to the 3.5 sorcerer. Other than quicken, I usually don't mind the full round action to apply metamagic, it's not like I need more than a 5 foot step most round anyways.

Quote:
Bloodline Overview

This was my favorite part of the guide. Very insightful, and I could relate to having change of heart on various spells/class features after forcing myself to go through them with a fine tooth comb.

Changing my mind on something I thought I did/didn't like with a brief glance is one of my favorite parts about writing handbooks.

Overall, quite enjoyed, and I think a helpful tool.


Ah, to take your points one at a time

AncientVaults&EldritchSecrets wrote:
I did chuckle at the red indicator for a dwarf sorcerer as one of my players chose that lineup, but really, it isn't all that bad and this player choice is part of the backstory of the character.

Well, it's not unplayable, to be fair; and if that's the character your player wants to you, that's perfectly fine. It's just the worst choice, from a mechanical standpoint. Consider this- you roll (or buy) an 18 for your charisma,(top priority to be sure) now a dwarf will get a charisma of 16, and elf has a charisma of 18 and everyone else has a charisma of 20. That will hurt in the long run. This is compounded by the fact that none of the dwarf's racial features are designed for spellcasters- those weapon proficiencies and speed in armor go to waste. If there aren't any other sorcerers you may never notice the problem, but if a human sorcerer joins the group, you'll notice that one is clearly better at their job. I suggest being generous with headbands of alluring charisma.

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Not a big fan of illusion spells myself, (except for the invisibility variants), but fair point, and I see you have now updated to specifically highlight that. ;)

Ahh, that is where we differ my friend- I love illusions. Particularly the image spells, with a little imagination, you'd be surprised what you can do. For example, did you know that there is no difference between a stone wall and an illusion of one? Until the enemy makes his save that is. Oh- and you only get a save when you interact with the wall- so the enemy would to try to bast the wall down- or scale it mid-battle, to make that save (and even the he can still fail it). And unlike stone wall, it's a first level spell, and has other uses- like faking a summon spell. I usually put at least one image spell on the spell list of any character that can get them. I almost forgot about the shadow conjuration and shadow evocation spell, which are exceedingly nice for the spell-starved sorcerer.

stuart haffenden wrote:
Highlights the major problems with the class, some of those spells are painfully poor! I didn't want to play one before, and I still don't!

Sorry you're not a fan of the spontaneous spellcasters. I understand what you mean- sheer spell selection has the wizard trumping the sorcerer every time, and the bonus spells do little to help, as many of them are really bad. But, now more than ever, the sorcerer has it's place. It's so much easier to run a sorcerer, and that means a lot. Not only is it more newbie friendly- it's just less taxing. And it doesn't hurt that it's flavor is really different, a lot of character concepts for the sorcerer don't work for the wizard- and vice-versa.

Treanmonk wrote:

The rumor I heard is that Jason says that you only multiply the die roll by 1.5, so with your summon example - you could use a 9th level spell slot to summon as little as 3 lions.

Not that it really matters how many lions you summon. How many creatures are you going to hit with Dire Lions at levels 18+ anyways?

Lions have a +13 attack (+15 with Augment summoning), you could have used that SMIX to summon 2 Nalfeshnee demons at +23 (+25) - they might actually hit. (I won't even go into damage...but look at damage). Or if you want the die roll, 3 to 6 T Rex's, each with +20 to hit (+22) for 4d6+22 (+25) damage each...

Even if you luck out and get the 14 - is that really going to make much difference at that level?

Most importantly - your summon spell has a 1 round casting time, and under the rules for applying metamagic to spells that have longer than a one standard action casting time - you need to add 1 full round action. So by the time your lions appear - 2 rounds have passed. Not so hot.

I didn't realized the ruling that Jason made- that hurts the feat a bit.

I'll be honest, i was measuring power in HP- bad I know, but my regular DM like sending waves of low-level mooks and those lions wouldn't have a problem wiping them out. But that's not the norm.( Also that tactic works better for lower level slots- like 5th level for summon monster 3)

And I don't know how I didn't notice the two round casting time for summons- that kills the concept, I'll strike the advise from the guide. A sorcerer shouldn't metamagic summoning (unless they have an arcane bloodline, but even then, it's not that hot an option.

Thanks for all the advise- keep it coming, this guide has plenty of room to improve.


Well done. I liked especially reading your opinions of spells and bloodlines.

One of the interesting things to think about in terms of bloodlines is the intended role of the sorcerer as well. These can be a lot of things including the standard buffer, blaster, controller character as well as non-combat roles. Each of the bloodlines weighs differently here.

My current sorcerer is the only character in the party with CHA above 13 and is therefore the party face in addition to everything else, so I chose infernal solely for the diplomacy addition. I guess I don't know if there are other non-combat roles (roleplaying aside) that would cause you to make a bloodline selection, but I guess there could be.

I would agree that elemental is a sub-par bloodline, but it is interesting to compare elemental and draconic for a blaster, although I still don't think there is much of a debate here.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sorry I should have pointed out my comments were purely on mechanics.

From a flavour/role-playing perspective the Sorcerer has loads going for it over the Wizard, I mean, just how many ways can you role-play a snooty brainbox anyway!


While the Sorceror changes in Pathfinder opened up the class a bit for me, the specialist wizard changes are actually what sold me. Wizards could be a very diverse and unique class before, but now? Hell, even a generalist looks incredibly interesting.


Thanks for stepping up to the plate! One of these years I may actually dip my toe into one of these.....but for now, perfectly happy to make use of all your efforts, and just add my commentary :).

First, on your skill list, I feel that perception should probably be added. It's just one of those pathfinder skills that every character should see about squeezing points into. Especially since if you're playing at later levels, where the stat modifier and the class skill become less and less of a factor compared to # of ranks.

Second, commentaries on the Elementalist bloodline:

I'm aware that both you and Treatmonk don't like blasters...I'm aware of the math and the arguments behind them. I'm also aware that if a player does want to play that kind of char, they're going to come to one of these two classes to do it in, and it's worth at least a comment.

Given that, There's one minor feature and one major feature of the Elemental bloodline to point out. The minor is you get burning hands and scorching ray as whatever element you chose, not fire. The _major_ is the bloodline arcana I feel you highly undervalue. You get the choice of changing the element of your blast spells at cast time, each time. This effectively doubles your blast spells known for versatility in getting past resistances....and since as a sorcerer, you're only going to know a few blast spells total..even for a non blaster type, it's quite useful. Say your element is electricity...take a fire blast spell, a cold blast spell, and an acid blast spell as your 3 different blast spells at different levels....and if any of those aren't appropriate, you can sub it to one that is. Since as far as I can tell, Energy Substitution hasn't made into pathfinder, this is pretty unique (For games not using 3.5 content)


Farabor wrote:


I'm aware that both you and Treatmonk don't like blasters...I'm aware of the math and the arguments behind them. I'm also aware that if a player does want to play that kind of char, they're going to come to one of these two classes to do it in

I'm going to go a bit off subject here, but since you brought up blasting.

In my upcoming Druid handbook, one of the two builds I suggest will be a focused caster, and blasting actually WILL make up a reasonable portion of the spell selection, just as the class happens to have a large number of nice blast options.

So I guess, just to correct, I don't like WIZARD blasters ;)

P.S. I think your point about the energy substitution is valid, as long as the feat does not exist - this is one way to still get the benifit of the feat.

I've got to think either Electricity or Acid are your best bet.


One thing about fey bloodline the 20th level ability cold iron resistance is useless as under new magic weapon rules even a +3 weapon cuts thru cold iron resistance like butter !


Read through your guide and I loved it. It's very clever and witty, which is exactly what a guide should be. I had a quick comment on your rating of your three bloodline blasts:

The draconic blast, Breath Weapon, is essentially a free cone of cold for your chosen energy type. It's mechanically the weakest because it's a supernatural ability (and thus doesn't even benefit from the bloodline arcana), but isn't subject to SR. It also requires you to be within swinging range, and that's a bad place for clothies.

The elemental bloodline version, Elemental Blast, is significantly more powerful. It's got the same damage, a better range, and causes anyone who fails their save to gain vulnerability to your energy type. Keep in mind that if you've chosen fire or electricty the druid in your party will likely have a blast to take advantage of that. I realize that playing a blaster is an inferior choice for a sorcerer, but this is essentially a free empower spell on the next blast you strike that enemy with (since you can spontaneously convert spells). It also isn't clear if an enemy can have both immunity and vulnerability, which may work to the blaster's benefit.

The undead version, Grasp of the Grave, is far more powerful than you let it on to be. It's got the same range as Elemental Blast, and does a different type of damage- slashing. Because it's slashing damage it's not subject to energy resistance, but DR will likely catch it. This is a decent trade off. Also, anyone who fails their reflex save is unable to move for 1 round. Personally, I see that as very powerful, as you can basically keep a series of enemies at bay while your muscled friends swoop in. The only downside to the ability is that the arms must burst from a solid surface, which won't *often* be a problem but it's worth noting.

Anyways, just my 2cp.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just a quick note. If anyone else is working on, or considering working on, similar guides to other classes, d20pfsrd.com would be happy to host such guides. Either email me or post a comment on one of these threads mentioning wanting to have your guide added and I'll check it out. As long as its not inappropriate and does not conflict with the Pathfinder Community Use Policy I'd love to have your guide join the other well done ones from Treantmonk (and others).


insaneogeddon wrote:


One thing about fey bloodline the 20th level ability cold iron resistance is useless as under new magic weapon rules even a +3 weapon cuts thru cold iron resistance like butter !

I had actually thought Fey Bloodline Lvl 20 to be DR 10 excluding Cold Iron? Or that's honestly how it should be. Cold Iron is the traditional Fey killer. It is to Fey as Silver is to a Lycanthrope.


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
The draconic blast, Breath Weapon, is essentially a free cone of cold for your chosen energy type. It's mechanically the weakest because it's a supernatural ability (and thus doesn't even benefit from the bloodline arcana), but isn't subject to SR. It also requires you to be within swinging range, and that's a bad place for clothies.

The fact that it's an Su means it bypasses SR and doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, these are both really nice. Also, scaling DCs, no upper limit on damage dice are pretty nice too. On the down side, the 30' range for the cone is a bit close for comfort. Some of the effects are lines which isn't very good either.

It's worth noting that having a fairly powerful effect you can use in an anti-magic field and that bypasses SR can be REALLY nice on occasion. I was in an PFS scenario where my 7th level wizard felt helpless for a critical encounter because his most powerful effect was hand of the apprentice. And SR means a creature gets 2 rolls to avoid damage which is painful.

Sean FitzSimon wrote:
The elemental bloodline version, Elemental Blast, is significantly more powerful. It's got the same damage, a better range, and causes anyone who fails their save to gain vulnerability to your energy type.

This is really sweet also but unfortunately it's an Sp so you have spell resistance which is the bane of blasters. I find it unlikely a GM will let you use this to bypass energy immunity but some might. The 20' burst 60' range is much better than either the 30' cone or 60' line from the dragon bloodline.

The undead version, Grasp of the Grave, is far more powerful than you let it on to be.

I agree, any sort this is particularly useful against large groups where you have a change of splitting them up. You can also use this in combination with black tentacles to hold them in place.


Dennis da Ogre wrote:
It's worth noting that having a fairly powerful effect you can use in an anti-magic field and that bypasses SR can be REALLY nice on occasion.

Actually, supernatural abilities can't be used in antimagic fields- which sucks.


Netromancer wrote:
insaneogeddon wrote:


One thing about fey bloodline the 20th level ability cold iron resistance is useless as under new magic weapon rules even a +3 weapon cuts thru cold iron resistance like butter !

I had actually thought Fey Bloodline Lvl 20 to be DR 10 excluding Cold Iron? Or that's honestly how it should be. Cold Iron is the traditional Fey killer. It is to Fey as Silver is to a Lycanthrope.

True true, you know what I meant. Either or a high enough magic weapon counts nowadays thus the DR capstone abilities are utterly worthless appart from lording over pesants and ignoring uprisings !!!


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Dennis da Ogre wrote:
It's worth noting that having a fairly powerful effect you can use in an anti-magic field and that bypasses SR can be REALLY nice on occasion.
Actually, supernatural abilities can't be used in antimagic fields- which sucks.

This is a pain for 'gish' characters. The best use of wings is often to fly about in an anti-magic shell and swoop onto people who cast and hack. Wings now wink out which is a real pain.


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Dennis da Ogre wrote:
It's worth noting that having a fairly powerful effect you can use in an anti-magic field and that bypasses SR can be REALLY nice on occasion.
Actually, supernatural abilities can't be used in antimagic fields- which sucks.

Hahaha... I should have looked before I suggested that. I didn't think so but was basing it on ruling a GM made in a recent game.

I'm pretty sure it does bypass globe of invulnerability though which blocks a lot of the common blasting spells.


One thing with regard to Heal skill; I gather that characters used for play in PFS games on the convention circuit are popping up occasionally with ranks in Heal skill these days, because in a game where you're playing with a group of PCs you may not even know what the races and classes of are until you turn up at the table, you can't always be guaranteed to have a caster with cure spells in your party - or for that matter with a wand or scroll of cure xxx.

Conceivably the 'odds and ends toolkit' of the destined bloodline which has a variety 'deal with adverse conditions that unexpectedly arise' bonus spells might be more useful in such circumstances too.
I don't know how much PFS organised play may merit such consideration on the basis of the unique playing conditions.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:

One thing with regard to Heal skill; I gather that characters used for play in PFS games on the convention circuit are popping up occasionally with ranks in Heal skill these days, because in a game where you're playing with a group of PCs you may not even know what the races and classes of are until you turn up at the table, you can't always be guaranteed to have a caster with cure spells in your party - or for that matter with a wand or scroll of cure xxx.

Conceivably the 'odds and ends toolkit' of the destined bloodline which has a variety 'deal with adverse conditions that unexpectedly arise' bonus spells might be more useful in such circumstances too.
I don't know how much PFS organized play may merit such consideration on the basis of the unique playing conditions.

I see the difference here- I play with reliable players, we are fairly careful to get our bases covered- (though no one wants to roll up a cleric save me, and the DM that isn't me hates druids...I digress). Anyway, we usually try to make sure we have a healing method. But I can understand the need for self-sustainment when playing with a group of strangers. Still, a sorcerer makes a terrible healer- wisdom's a dump stat.

Honestly the "odds and ends" of the destined bloodline won't amount to as much a benefit as the arcane bloodline's spells, or several others for that matter. I just wish that the vanilla Arcane bloodline wasn't your best option, but it is. Still- even the destined bloodline is a step up from the 3.5 sorcerer- and the 3.5 sorcerer was a fairly powerful class, so I'd pick a bloodline based on flavor before anything.

Sean FitzSimon wrote:
I had a quick comment on your rating of your three bloodline blasts

You make a good argument, and the blasts are rather good blasts, as they scale with your highest spell slot- in fact at level 20, they'll have higher than average save DC's.

But here's the thing about damage- if it's not enough to kill someone, it doesn't have any effect that round. And arcane blasts don't deal enough damage to regularly drop foes of the same CR. Here's an example: at level 20 the grasp of the grave ability deals 20d6 damage- average 70 , which is on par with what you might expect from a level 9 area spell (there are more powerful ones, Meteor swarm deals an average of 112 to a single target- assuming that target is hit with all 4 spheres- any creature caught in all four blast areas but no spheres takes an average of 84 damage- and if target is only hit by one blast takes 21 damage- which is pitiful).

Anyway, the bloodline blasts deal an average of 70 damage on a failed save. According to the monster creation rules monster statistics by cr chart (a handy tool to test any build) the average HP of a CR 20 monster is...370. Not even close. If you fight a large number of lower cr monster the blasts become more viable- it would wipe out a group of CR 6 monsters. (which, by the way, it would take about 128 of to equal one CR 20 encounter- so if you do fight any CR 6 monsters at level 20 expect some stronger ones mixed in.) But fighting that many weak enemies isn't a based assumption in Pathfinder, your DM might do it, but you probable won't find that happing in a module any time soon. So I can't fawn over the blasts- especially when the group fighter is doing 150 damage per round, and the group Paladin demolishes the evil dragons and the evil outsiders... oh man- If dealing damage is your top priority, you should switch classes.

-by the by, somebody might want to check my math there, my numbers could be off.

insaneogeddon wrote:
One thing about fey bloodline the 20th level ability cold iron resistance is useless as under new magic weapon rules even a +3 weapon cuts thru cold iron resistance like butter !

You're right, I'll change the rating for that ability, as +3 weapons should be fairly common is fair fights at that point.

jreyst wrote:

Just a quick note. If anyone else is working on, or considering working on, similar guides to other classes, d20pfsrd.com would be happy to host such guides. Either email me or post a comment on one of these threads mentioning wanting to have your guide added and I'll check it out. As long as its not inappropriate and does not conflict with the Pathfinder Community Use Policy I'd love to have your guide join the other well done ones from Treantmonk (and others).

Yes! I'd love to have my guide hosted there- just tell me what I need to do.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MinstrelintheGallery wrote:

jreyst wrote:
Just a quick note. If anyone else is working on, or considering working on, similar guides to other classes, d20pfsrd.com would be happy to host such guides. Either email me or post a comment on one of these threads mentioning wanting to have your guide added and I'll check it out. As long as its not inappropriate and does not conflict with the Pathfinder Community Use Policy I'd love to have your guide join the other well done ones from Treantmonk (and others).
Yes! I'd love to have my guide hosted there- just tell me what I need to do.

All you need is a Google Account (can be gmail or any other id you use to log into google services with) and to tell me you'd like to get involved. Email me your google id and I'll set you up (this applies to anyone else who would like to get involved btw).


MinstrelintheGallery wrote:

You make a good argument, and the blasts are rather good blasts, as they scale with your highest spell slot- in fact at level 20, they'll have higher than average save DC's.

But here's the thing about damage- if it's not enough to kill someone, it doesn't have any...

Almost all casters do some blasting, even if it's just to supplement other casting. Wizards have the luxury of being able to use a single spell slot (or their arcane bond). Giving a sorcerer the option to blast effectively once/ day without burning a precious spell known is a solid class feature IMO. It's like getting a bonus spell known

As for what blasting is good for, basically it's good for killing off a bunch of soft targets... Consider you tangle a bunch of creatures with black tentacles, they are struggling to escape you can use this to either finish them or at least damage them enough the archer can finish them before they escape the tentacles. Again, I agree with you in general, blasting is a weak option to base your class on. But having the option to occasionally blast is good.


I generally agree that blasting is a subpar choice for a spellcaster, but I was more commenting on the fact that Grasp of the Dead is an awesome class feature that just happens to lump some damage on it in the process.


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
I generally agree that blasting is a subpar choice for a spellcaster, but I was more commenting on the fact that Grasp of the Dead is an awesome class feature that just happens to lump some damage on it in the process.

Holy something-or-other batman! I someow missed to immobilizan thion effect on grasp of the dead- it warrents a re-rating. I don't know how I missed that- chalk it up to burnout, guide writing is the optimization equivilent of a marathon.

Dennis da Ogre wrote:
Almost all casters do some blasting, even if it's just to supplement other casting. Wizards have the luxury of being able to use a single spell slot (or their arcane bond). Giving a sorcerer the option to blast effectively once/ day without burning a precious spell known is a solid class feature IMO. It's like getting a bonus spell known

You make a good point, the best use of these blasting features is to replace blasting spells, not to be in addition to...I'll re-rate all three, giving a better rating to grasp of the dead, due to it's utility.


Reading through it again, I see a few more things I disagree with.

The fey bloodline is actually a powerful defensive path rather than offensive. For example, the laughing touch ability at level 1 is pretty lame when you look at it as an offensive attack. Consider, though, that it helps escape a grapple and can keep an enemy who's cornered you from attacking for the round it takes your allies to close in. Yes, these may be rare instances, but when they happen you'll love the bloodline.

The other fey ability, Fey Magic, is actually a lot more powerful than you let on. It stacks with spell penetration, and helps reduce the amount of low rolls you'll deal with when assaulting your enemies. No, it doesn't add anything to your roll, but you'll breathe a little easier when that natural 1 hits the table.

Also, the destined ability, Within Reach, isn't good- it's phenomenal. It's almost immunity to death 1/day, which is pretty ridiculous. All it takes is a DC 20 will save (sorcerers at this level have a base +13 will save) and you're -1 and stabilized. It may only come up once or twice in your entire career, but when the trigger is DEATH and the result is immunity, it's hard to say that isn't worth it. Also consider how much damage monsters are doing in the late teens. A d6 caster with subpar armor won't stand for much of it.


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Overall, a very nice guide.

3 things, I think, that you may wish to consider.

1. The Abyssal and the Celestial Bloodline Arcana abilities are not created equal: An abyssal sorcerer can summon something with DR/good. If you fight a big evil monster (say, a demon), they're either out of luck, or they're going to need a +5 weapon. That same demon can completely ignore a creature with DR/evil.

2. The Dodge feat is a prereq for the Cheliax Companion feat Osyluth Guile. I...guess I shouldn't spoil what that feat does here, but basically, if the sorcerer needs to go full-defensive for some reason, she will be very very good at it. So, Dodge might be better than your yellow rating...but not by much.

3. There are 2 'dip' classes I think are worth mentioning, even for the straight sorcerer. a) Dragon Disciple: I tried working something gishy to go with this class, but honestly I think straight Draconic sorcerer is the way to go. Main reason: all your bloodline gifts _stack_ with what this class gives you. So, way more natural AC, wings quicker, free stat boots, better saves, way better HP, more bloodline feats, etc etc etc, and in exchange, you lose only 3 caster levels (or 9th level spells). I think that's a worthy trade. b) 2 levels of Paladin: the consensus on the 3.5 boards is that divine grace on a sorcerer is not worth losing 2 levels of spellcasting. With the Pathfinder paladin, you get a lot of good things that are better with a higher Charisma. You get the super-charged smite evil (great for ray spells), you get lots of low-level healing (something like 10 charges off a wand of cure light wounds every day), _and_ you get divine grace for your saves. I think that's worth it too.

Anyway, that's my 3 cents on your lovely sorcerer guide.


One notable problem in the feats section -- given that sorcerers don't normally have the ability to acquire familiars in Pathfinder, unlike 3.5, they can't take the Improved Familiar feat. Thus, no mephits. Unless you take the Arcane bloodline and weaken yourself by taking a [strike]small fuzzy target that costs you money to replace[/strike] creature familiar.

And really, isn't the point of the bloodlines that you don't pigeonhole every character into the same background? I've played fey, draconic, elemental, and aberrant sorcerers (hey, DM *grin* ) and all of them appear far more enticing than the wizard-lite that arcane bloodline is. If you want the wizard spells and the wizard-esque benefits that the bloodline grants, play a wizard. You'll get a hell of a lot more bang and flexibility for your investment.

Plus... Toughness? Admittedly it's a lot better than it used to be, but c'mon. It seems far wiser to use a feat on something that will actually make you more effective in quickly taking out the other guy, rather than hoping that your measly extra ten hit points will save you.


Kurukami wrote:

One notable problem in the feats section -- given that sorcerers don't normally have the ability to acquire familiars in Pathfinder, unlike 3.5, they can't take the Improved Familiar feat. Thus, no mephits. Unless you take the Arcane bloodline and weaken yourself by taking a [strike]small fuzzy target that costs you money to replace[/strike] creature familiar.

And really, isn't the point of the bloodlines that you don't pigeonhole every character into the same background? I've played fey, draconic, elemental, and aberrant sorcerers (hey, DM *grin* ) and all of them appear far more enticing than the wizard-lite that arcane bloodline is. If you want the wizard spells and the wizard-esque benefits that the bloodline grants, play a wizard. You'll get a hell of a lot more bang and flexibility for your investment.

Plus... Toughness? Admittedly it's a lot better than it used to be, but c'mon. It seems far wiser to use a feat on something that will actually make you more effective in quickly taking out the other guy, rather than hoping that your measly extra ten hit points will save you.

Quote:


Improved Familiar

This feat allows you to acquire a powerful familiar, but only when you could normally acquire a new familiar.

Prerequisites: Ability to acquire a new familiar, compatible alignment, sufficiently high level (see below).

I don't see how they can't take a familiar. They meet all the requirements.

I will admit I did not agree with some of the spell selections from the other guide, such as pyrotechnics. The way I read it there has to be a fire already going, and the AoE is big enough that it seems hard to not have the party be in it. There were some other ones too. Hopefully the APG has some more spells. It seems that for groups that allow Core spells only the sorcerer is hurting since many spells got nerfed.


wraithstrike wrote:
I will admit I did not agree with some of the spell selections from the other guide, such as pyrotechnics. The way I read it there has to be a fire already going, and the AoE is big enough that it seems hard to not have the party be in it. There were some other ones too. Hopefully the APG has some more spells. It seems that for groups that allow Core spells only the sorcerer is hurting since many spells got nerfed.

You make a good point about the limitation of having to rely on an existing fire source is the only thing that worries me about pyrotechnics. Situational spells are not great for sorcerers. I might drop that off the list for that reason alone.

Other than that it's an amazing spell for it's level The fact that it has 2 powerful effects and both are fairly strong for the level. It also has a pretty decent side effect of being able to instantly extinguish a huge fire.

The smoke effect is like a poor mans stinking cloud only 1 level earlier. If you don't like stinking cloud then you probably won't like this. The blinding effect is huge but with a little planning you can have your party out of line of sight (it makes a nice first round effect).

What other spells did you have issue with?


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He met the gaze, observed the spaces!

Here's to a broadsword and clear understanding.

Thanks, I'm looking at it now.

Sigurd


Dennis da Ogre wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I will admit I did not agree with some of the spell selections from the other guide, such as pyrotechnics. The way I read it there has to be a fire already going, and the AoE is big enough that it seems hard to not have the party be in it. There were some other ones too. Hopefully the APG has some more spells. It seems that for groups that allow Core spells only the sorcerer is hurting since many spells got nerfed.

You make a good point about the limitation of having to rely on an existing fire source is the only thing that worries me about pyrotechnics. Situational spells are not great for sorcerers. I might drop that off the list for that reason alone.

Other than that it's an amazing spell for it's level The fact that it has 2 powerful effects and both are fairly strong for the level. It also has a pretty decent side effect of being able to instantly extinguish a huge fire.

The smoke effect is like a poor mans stinking cloud only 1 level earlier. If you don't like stinking cloud then you probably won't like this. The blinding effect is huge but with a little planning you can have your party out of line of sight (it makes a nice first round effect).

What other spells did you have issue with?

Ok, so maybe I was being picky that day. I can't seem to notice any bad other questionable picks, but I do like sleep. I try to avoid being with 15 ft of the bad guys for color spray*, but that may be due my memories of how frail 1d4's are.

*I know sometimes this is not an option.

I like rope trick a lot unless someone has alarm. I know you can't hide the rope now but you can put it out of reach most of the time. If you dont think its worth it you can buy a wand of it at a higher caster level.

Maybe useful sorcerer scrolls would not be a bad idea to put in the guide.


wraithstrike wrote:
Ok, so maybe I was being picky that day. I can't seem to notice any bad other questionable picks, but I do like sleep. I try to avoid being with 15 ft of the bad guys for color spray*, but that may be due my memories of how frail 1d4's are.

I think I will add sleep in as a first level spell but with the caveat that you retrain it at 4th level. I agree about the 15' thing... but I've been able to use it quite a bit in spite of the range and it's proved itself to me quite a few times.

wraithstrike wrote:
I like rope trick a lot unless someone has alarm. I know you can't hide the rope now but you can put it out of reach most of the time. If you dont think its worth it you can buy a wand of it at a higher caster level.

I LOVE rope trick but dedicating a spell slot to something you are going to use once per day at most is a crime. This is where it gets really tough to be a sorcerer. This is why I say no to mage armor also. Mage armor in particular since you can buy a wand for fairly little until you can afford bracers.

Quote:
Maybe useful sorcerer scrolls would not be a bad idea to put in the guide.

Hmm... this is a good idea, I'll see about adding a list of good wands/ scrolls to the list. Rope trick is particularly troublesome though since it's really only useful if cast at 8th level or higher.


wraithstrike wrote:
Ok, so maybe I was being picky that day. I can't seem to notice any bad other questionable picks, but I do like sleep. I try to avoid being with 15 ft of the bad guys for color spray*, but that may be due my memories of how frail 1d4's are.

I added sleep as an option to color spray (you probably don't want both).

Still debating pyrotechnics...


Sorry I haven't commented recently-busy week. Now to address points you folks have made...

quote=The PostMonster General] The fey bloodline is actually a powerful defensive path rather than offensive. For example, the laughing touch ability at level 1 is pretty lame when you look at it as an offensive attack. Consider, though, that it helps escape a grapple and can keep an enemy who's cornered you from attacking for the round it takes your allies to close in. Yes, these may be rare instances, but when they happen you'll love the bloodline.

The other fey ability, Fey Magic, is actually a lot more powerful than you let on. It stacks with spell penetration, and helps reduce the amount of low rolls you'll deal with when assaulting your enemies. No, it doesn't add anything to your roll, but you'll breathe a little easier when that natural 1 hits the table.

Did I underrate the fey bloodline? if so I appologize, as it may very well be my favorite one. I think the arcane bloodline is stronger, but I like the fey theme (I like the traditional, scarier fairies though, like Pan's Laberynth, not the modern sissy fairies you see everywhere).

That said, you are perfectly correct in saying the laughing touch is a defensive ability- because it is, and a good one at that. But here's the thing- if you're grappled, or cornered- someone screwed up- it's not a bad backup plan- and it's nice to have it, but you shouldn't need it. I gave it the same rating as the other touch abilities- less than the rays and definetly higher than the claws.

Second, the Fey Magic Ability- it's good, and probably better than I let on. I'm bumping up the rating- because it always applies. It's not a once per day effect that might let you bypass spell resistance, it increases your ability to bypass it as a whole.

Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Also, the destined ability, Within Reach, isn't good- it's phenomenal. It's almost immunity to death 1/day, which is pretty ridiculous. All it takes is a DC 20 will save (sorcerers at this level have a base +13 will save) and you're -1 and stabilized. It may only come up once or twice in your entire career, but when the trigger is DEATH and the result is immunity, it's hard to say that isn't worth it. Also consider how much damage monsters are doing in the late teens. A d6 caster with subpar armor won't stand for much of it.

I'm not sure I'm sold -as it might never come up in a campaign, then it's not doing you any good. That said if it does come up- you'll love it (unless you roll a natural one- which would happen to be I'm sure). I like it, but I don't think I like it enought to raise the rating- it's no added summonings- it doesn't increase your power it saves your hide when someone has screwed up. I can see that you value your defensive backup abilities more than I do, you may be right, but my stategy has never been preparing for failure- it's been doing all in my power to never had to. I could be wrong- I mean, we're all just one bad roll away from death...I'll think about it.

ohako wrote:
1. The Abyssal and the Celestial Bloodline Arcana abilities are not created equal: An abyssal sorcerer can summon something with DR/good. If you fight a big evil monster (say, a demon), they're either out of luck, or they're going to need a +5 weapon. That same demon can completely ignore a creature with DR/evil

Maybe- the only real gain is that you can have celestial summons that can only but hurt by good things... obsolete after you get added summoning but enought to warrant mention.

ohako wrote:
2. The Dodge feat is a prereq for the Cheliax Companion feat Osyluth Guile. I...guess I shouldn't spoil what that feat does here, but basically, if the sorcerer needs to go full-defensive for some reason, she will be very very good at it. So, Dodge might be better than your yellow rating...but not by much.

I don't have that book- my group tends to write their own campaigns and campaign settings, just a matter of taste- what I've read of Golarian seems pretty nice. And until I have the book- I can't include it as part of my ratings. I doubt I'll include a lot of campaign setting-specific material, probably none at all. I will update for the advance players guide though.

ohako wrote:
3. There are 2 'dip' classes I think are worth mentioning, even for the straight sorcerer. a) Dragon Disciple: I tried working something gishy to go with this class, but honestly I think straight Draconic sorcerer is the way to go. Main reason: all your bloodline gifts _stack_ with what this class gives you. So, way more natural AC, wings quicker, free stat boots, better saves, way better HP, more bloodline feats, etc etc etc, and in exchange, you lose only 3 caster levels (or 9th level spells). I think that's a worthy trade. b) 2 levels of Paladin: the consensus on the 3.5 boards is that divine grace on a sorcerer is not worth losing 2 levels of spellcasting. With the Pathfinder paladin, you get a lot of good things that are better with a higher Charisma. You get the super-charged smite evil (great for ray spells), you get lots of low-level healing (something like 10 charges off a wand of cure light wounds every day), _and_ you get divine grace for your saves. I think that's worth it too.

I've been playing around with adding a multiclass/pestige class section. But I can't come up with one that surpasses (or even matches) sorcerer 20. Two level dips are possible but...nothing adds up to the value of ninth level spells. Yes, there are two level dips-but even then... Eldritch Knight and Arcane trickster work so much better for wizards. And then there's the dragon disciple- I think it's might be better for bards. Bards who don't mind losing out on bardic music, but it would make them very viable melee wise -but that isn't enought for sorcerers. I may add a guide for this sort of thing if enough people show interest.

Kurukami wrote:

One notable problem in the feats section -- given that sorcerers don't normally have the ability to acquire familiars in Pathfinder, unlike 3.5, they can't take the Improved Familiar feat. Thus, no mephits. Unless you take the Arcane bloodline and weaken yourself by taking a [strike]small fuzzy target that costs you money to replace[/strike] creature familiar.

And really, isn't the point of the bloodlines that you don't pigeonhole every character into the same background? I've played fey, draconic, elemental, and aberrant sorcerers (hey, DM *grin* ) and all of them appear far more enticing than the wizard-lite that arcane bloodline is. If you want the wizard spells and the wizard-esque benefits that the bloodline grants, play a wizard. You'll get a hell of a lot more bang and flexibility for your investment.

Plus... Toughness? Admittedly it's a lot better than it used to be, but c'mon. It seems far wiser to use a feat on something that will actually make you more effective in quickly taking out the other guy, rather than hoping that your measly extra ten hit points will save you.

Here's the thing- there aren't enough sorcerer feats- you probably won't need more than two metamagics/item creation feats total; and only will need a couple spell focuses.

But here's the thing- those hitpoint will make sure you get to the point where nothing can harm you- those low levels own spellcasters- they need the hitpoints, and most sorcerers will want to take it.

And yes- only the arcane bloodline can take improved familiar, but ever single one will want it. A familiar with speaking ability, UMD and thumbs will be a wreaking ball on the battlefield. And a sorcerer's familiar is better than a wizards as the Sorcerer's UMD will be higher.

As for my favoring of the arcane bloodline. It's purely mechanical- it's the best. Not so good that I won't play other bloodlines, (to the contrary, I'd rather play the other ones)
but, by the numbers- it's the best. That said- it's not a bad roleplaying option. What if you want a charicter with innate spellcasting- a knack, but doesn't want to be tied to the flavor of any of the other bloodlines- maybe they don't want to be a genetic patchwork quilt, maybe they want someone from a long line of wizards, was a poor study, but passed his test through sheer panache(story of my life really)? Here's the thing- bloodlines won't determine you worth, even a destined sorcerer (the worst bloodline in my opinion) is a step up from 3.5 sorcerers, and we've played them for years!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
Dennis da Ogre wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I will admit I did not agree with some of the spell selections from the other guide, such as pyrotechnics. The way I read it there has to be a fire already going, and the AoE is big enough that it seems hard to not have the party be in it. There were some other ones too. Hopefully the APG has some more spells. It seems that for groups that allow Core spells only the sorcerer is hurting since many spells got nerfed.

You make a good point about the limitation of having to rely on an existing fire source is the only thing that worries me about pyrotechnics. Situational spells are not great for sorcerers. I might drop that off the list for that reason alone.

Other than that it's an amazing spell for it's level The fact that it has 2 powerful effects and both are fairly strong for the level. It also has a pretty decent side effect of being able to instantly extinguish a huge fire.

The smoke effect is like a poor mans stinking cloud only 1 level earlier. If you don't like stinking cloud then you probably won't like this. The blinding effect is huge but with a little planning you can have your party out of line of sight (it makes a nice first round effect).

What other spells did you have issue with?

Torch 1 cp.

Sorcerer: "I've got your fire source right here!"


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Torch 1 cp.

Sorcerer: "I've got your fire source right here!"

I don't think the fire source itself is the problem, it's that you have to deal with the mechanics of delivering it. Standard action to toss it, etc. The best bet is to have an unseen servant that carries one for that contingency...

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Netromancer wrote:
Tull rules.

Ooh, beat to the punch by the first post!

(I was going to move on to some terribly obscure reference, then I noticed I already made one...)


tejón wrote:
(I was going to move on to some terribly obscure reference, then I noticed I already made one...

Wow, that is terribly obscure. I mean... just wow. It's a 2 minute instrumental on one of their later albums.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

MinstrelintheGallery wrote:
Wow, that is terribly obscure. I mean... just wow. It's a 2 minute instrumental on one of their later albums.

Spoiler:
In a younger incarnation, my online nicknames included "the Tullevangelist." ;) I branched out again after a while, but during my college years I was a one-band man. I have the complete studio works -- between record stores and eBay I managed to get all the out-of-print stuff. Even have a couple of the Mobile Fidelity gold CD's, from before they started doing their own remastering. Seen them four times, and Ian solo once. (Rubbing Elbows tour, front row. After the whole row got to do two bars on kazoo during Locomotive Breath, he came back to me for an encore before finishing the song. Booya!)

Strange Avenues is still the best piece of music I've ever heard.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Enough of the Jethro Tull love-fest!
I don't want to hear about you playing Ian's kazoo.
Now you're just Kissing Willie.


At high levels I would swap out Fly for the faster and longer lasting Phantom Steed...just wait until the Phantom Steed can fly.

For Pyrotechnics - yep, you need a fire source. If you didn't - the spell would be broken, broken, broken.

Unseen servant certainly does the trick, or if you do have a familiar, like maybe a bird, it can drop a torch where you need it to be.

How about in conjunction with Summon Monster (fire elemental) - that could be OK too...

Of course - if you are using the blinding ability - the key is for all the party to be looking away (or eyes closed) - this just requires a bit of preplanning and coordination.


Pyrotechnics is yet another reason to a be-thumbed mephit familiar- "I got yer fire right 'ere boss- who'd you like me to burn" (all my character's familiars are cockney) Though, this brings up an important question, one I don't have a readied answer for- "which mephit is best"

P.S. i'm fully aware that imps and quasits are mechanicaly superior to mephits, but I'd reserve them for evil-only. You don't, after all, want the Paladin smiting your familiar.

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