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Sorcerer at low levels...how to play it?


Advice


Hi!

I will play a new campaing starting at 3er lv and I find the sorcerer class intriguing but I hesitate cause I see that he has a few spells and
even that If I get create rods or scroll I can only make them with the spells I already know.

I like to inflict damage but also love the controlling spells....cause if you cant kill it, at least you can hamper it and someone finish the job.

My Stats are Cha 18, int 14 wis 14 con 15 dex 16 str 13 with all modifiers.

Im thinking to go for the Crossblooded sorcerer and taking Draconic and Elemental (electricity) for damage. nice spells and cast a fireball made of lightining!!

Can you give me an advice about how to play this character, what spells can I get so I can have a good spell list. Im playing a drow.

Thanks in advance!


Malik2012 wrote:

Hi!

I will play a new campaing starting at 3er lv and I find the sorcerer class intriguing but I hesitate cause I see that he has a few spells and
even that If I get create rods or scroll I can only make them with the spells I already know.

I like to inflict damage but also love the controlling spells....cause if you cant kill it, at least you can hamper it and someone finish the job.

My Stats are Cha 18, int 14 wis 14 con 15 dex 16 str 13 with all modifiers.

Im thinking to go for the Crossblooded sorcerer and taking Draconic and Elemental (electricity) for damage. nice spells and cast a fireball made of lightining!!

Can you give me an advice about how to play this character, what spells can I get so I can have a good spell list. Im playing a drow.

Thanks in advance!

With those stats you won't have problems, they are really great.

You can do lots of different things:
- Get a protective spell like mage armor and use a light crossbow
- Your BAB is the same as the medium BAB classes before level 3. So you could even go melee if you wanted to
- Make sure to capitalize on your skills, especially charisma-based ones. For example, intimidate or diplomacy are a good pick there.
- You could pick a spell without somatic components and thus spell failure, pick arcane strike and go for melee damage. Who should know you're a sorcerer?

I would not really go crossblooded. Draconic is pretty strong, especially if you want durability (armor bonuses etc.), flexibility is gained with the elemental bloodlines (convert spells). Also, draconic is good if you want to enter dragon disciple.
Something I always advice is to look at the empyreal and the sage bloodlines. Your stats suggest otherwise, though you could probably switch them around. So the first would give you great will saves and multiclass well with divine classes, sage gives you lots of skill points and makes you good at knowledge checks.

I once played an arcane bloodline sorcerer built explicitely around using non-damaging spells only. He bluffed, used illusions, buffed allies, changed terrain, blinded them etc. He only used a longspear and crossbow for damaging opponents. And it worked :-)

So you really got a lot of possibilities there - your stats make it very easy.

Osirion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If you're open to other race options, I point people towards human Sorcerers with the Arcane bloodline. You get an extra spell each level for being human, and Arcane adds even more spells to your list. The big drawback to playing a Sorcerer is limited spells known, but a human Arcane Sorcerer has more spells known than any other spontaneous caster.

I've used the Shaitan bloodline since it fit with my character's backstory and enjoyed it. You can choose a bolldline in a similar manner. The Fey, Deep Earth or Abyssal bloodlines go well with drow thematically. A few others - Aberrant, Accursed, Oni, Rakshasa, Shadow - can also mesh very well with a drow character. Of course, you needn't feel limited in your bloodline choice, but if you enjoy creating a solid backstory and theme for your character there are options available.


Sorcers are my favourite class. And is with my sincere grief that i have to inform you that they royally sucks at the low levels. I'll be stating my opinion here, that sorcers are quadratic wizards, the same way wizard are quadratic to fighters. Untill you get high level enaugh to have a decent amount of differents spells distribuited along your varius spells levels, you are royally screwed since you alck both the adaptability of the wizard and the flexibility of the sorcer. Sorcers starts rocking only from level 10 onward.

My best advice for this levels is just to get some general spells always usefull like invis and mirror image and hope you team can carry you till the levels where you can return the favor.


Shoot for variety. Buffs, debuffs, damage of each elemental type, illusions. Avoid the Save-or-Die spells (even if you optimize for it, you'll get disappointing results). For your first new spell of each level, ask yourself, "will I cast this every encounter, or at least every day?" Every once in a while, grab a fun spell to set character apart from other sorcerer builds.

Maybe consider Mage Armor on a wand until about level 5, if there's a bunch of first level spells that you want.

There isn't a lot of choice in this department, but have at least one spell per ~2 spell levels you know that doesn't care about spell resistance. Buffs and walls, usually, but see also Summon Monster, which, by the way, is a good spell when you're not sure what you want (maybe except SMI SMII).

Later on, get Dispel Magic on a scroll, and spring for a decent caster level on it, good for emergencies (at least one, more if nobody else can cast it regularly). Get scrolls of all manner of spells where caster level isn't important. Maybe 1 or 2 scrolls of Summon Monster I (pretty cheap) for triggering traps or creating a diversion. Be creative.

At every even level, and not just when you're unhappy about your spell choices, think about the spell swapping option. Using that option at every available opportunity is not a sign of weakness! Sometimes low level spells just become irrelevant, and if you're not actively weeding those out, you might be missing out on some potential.

You also might want to consider metamagic. Sure, you have increased casting time, but that just takes up most spells to a full round action (which is not a 1 Round action - important distinction). While that is a definite disadvantage, you should often be able to do a full round cast without problems. It also makes your higher level slots more versatile. And Quicken Spell? It's great to be able to spontaneously apply that on a whim. :)

Silver Crusade

Are you going to be able to buy scrolls and rods if you can't create them? That would allow you access to a lot more spells than you'd have otherwise.

I recently created a 1st level Deep Earth sorcerer for Pathfinder Society. He picked up 1000 gp from his first two adventures, and I bought a dozen scrolls of 1st level spells for 300 gp. Between those, his 1st level bloodline power, his 1st level spells, and the Daze cantrip, which is useful at low levels, but a perfect candidate for retraining at level 4, he has plenty to do in combat, even though he's still one adventure away from level 2.

He'll obviously become much more useful when he hits level 4, which gives level 2 spells and doubles his castings per day of non-cantrip spells. That's the real key level for sorcerers, I think.

Which brings me to Dekalinder's comment, about sorcerers sucking below level 10. Really? I've never even played at that high a level, and I have plenty of ideas for playing my sorcerer. And given that Pathfinder Society ends at level 12, the vast majority of my PCs career will be way below the level you're talking about. Sorcerers may not be the most powerful member of the group, especially at levels 1-3, but they're still useful, especially after level 6, when they get access to some very good level 3 spells.


Sangalor : Thanks for the advice but I rather stay on CHA so I can use skills as bluff and diplomacy ... it gives a lot of fun with them.

Obirandiath : Sorry, I cant change races. But I really like Drows. The other bloodline I will check them later on.

Dekalinder : I guess that lv 7 is a good level for the sorcerer. Powerfull spells and youre able to do some serius damage. I have only played until lv 11 with a wizard and I had lots of fun starting lv 5.

Stazamos : Thanks for the advice!!!

Fromper : Were starting with 300 gp. And our DM has told us to make the campaign much more difficult in order to obtain treasure and gold. He plans to give away weapons of +1 at lv 7.

My first guess was to buy scrolls from spells that I dont know and later on make metamagic rods at higher lvs.

We usually play from lv 5 till lv 10... the melee clases always shine in these levels and casters are getting stronger. I liked the Crossblooded line cause it gives me much more spells but then again it takes one know of the spell list away.


@Fromper Sorcer can be succesfull at low level, but requires a lot of expertise and a well coordinate party to actualy do the job for you. At first level sorcer actually shine thanks to sleep, but that can only carry you so far. From elvel 2 to 4 you are stuck with your best offensive spell being magic missile unless you are foolish enaugh to get in melee range for a spray. In my experience, this does not end up well. Even at 4th, you only have a single 2nd level spell to chose from invis, scorching ray, mirror image ecc. Hideus laughter is a really powerfull attack spell but is save based and non humanoid get an additional +4. Animals are flat out immune. Even if you started with a 20 in cha is not that affidable, especialli considering that it grants 2 saves. At 6 you can start to be an assets to the party since you unlock haste, but they (the martial) are still sucking all the fun for themself. You are just going to be their haste b~#$%. Gotta learn to deal with it, it's just the way things are.

@Malik Wizard are better at level 5 since they can have both fireball and haste. Sorcer don't get level 3 spell till 6 and can chose only one. Haste is the better choice, even if the less fun for you. At 7 you can have both, but you are still letting out fly unless you are arcane bloodline (witch i highly suggest since it has the greatest bonus spell list, with 8 of 9 spells you whould get anyway, and a really great selection of bloodline abilities). I think 11 is actually the golden level for sorcer when they starts to kick some serius a** since they finally get overland flight (at 10 you only ahve 1 5th level spell, taking OV is too much of a waste), they get the third ray on schorcing for some serius single target damage, and have a nice array of spells for AOE blasting to battlefield control with stone wall and black tentacles on top of the DD and the teleport.

BTW (i hope this is last edit) crossblooded is the worst calsss feature for a sorcerer. It was invented just so that wizard could stole Sorcer's cake with a single level dip.

Silver Crusade

Dekalinder wrote:

@Fromper Sorcer can be succesfull at low level, but requires a lot of expertise and a well coordinate party to actualy do the job for you. At first level sorcer actually shine thanks to sleep, but that can only carry you so far. From elvel 2 to 4 you are stuck with your best offensive spell being magic missile unless you are foolish enaugh to get in melee range for a spray. In my experience, this does not end up well. Even at 4th, you only have a single 2nd level spell to chose from invis, scorching ray, mirror image ecc. Hideus laughter is a really powerfull attack spell but is save based and non humanoid get an additional +4. Animals are flat out immune. Even if you started with a 20 in cha is not that affidable, especialli considering that it grants 2 saves. At 6 you can start to be an assets to the party since you unlock haste, but they (the martial) are still sucking all the fun for themself. You are just going to be their haste b$*&!. Gotta learn to deal with it, it's just the way things are.

My sorc took Color Spray for offense at level 1. Being Deep Earth bloodline, I've got the Tremor power from 30 feet away at 1st level, and then my 3rd offensive option is the Daze cantrip. That's all I've got for offense at 1st level, and it's enough to be useful, even if I'm not the most powerful at low level.

Only having a single 2nd level spell at level 4 isn't a problem if you pick a really good one. I haven't picked yet, but it'll probably be Glitterdust or Web. Create Pit is on my list, too, but I think it'll be redundant with my bloodline stuff (Tremor power, Expeditious Excavation as a bloodline spell at level 3).

See my thread about my sorcerer.

Andoran

Sorcerer is a fantastic class. I know that's not what's being debated here, but your low levels are just built upon picking a couple of powerful spells and riding them for a while.

Stuff like Color Spray and Grease will see you through most fights through level 4 with style, and then you get Glitterdust and you're all good. You can build a ridiculous sorcerer only taking Conjuration, Transmutation, and Enchantment and taking Greater Spell Focus in all three of those schools. With the Fey Bloodline, your Confusion spell will be cast at 18+cha mod. That's ridiculous. Transmutation would be the school I'd focus in last, because it really gets started with Slow (unless you count Dazing Snapdragon Fireworks) and doesn't get super-rolling until Baleful Polymorph and Flesh to Stone.

Your early spells will be a LOT of conjurations. Because they're awesome.


Actually the school I would focus the most is Necromancy. It's the best non-offensive offensive school.

Ok i explain the joke. Actually Enchantment is more powerfull with the dominate line. But any sane persone will consider dominate spam as a very offensive way to play.

So, back on topic, necro gives you a vast array of spell that remain usefull from start up till level 20, also nicely spread through levels. At level 1 you have the old powerhouse of Ray of Enfeeblement, that at later stages when empowered reaps blood and sorrow from any melee opponent. At level 3 you have ray of exaustion. Both have great effects even on a succeded saves. The latter can also be double caster for 100% effectiveness. Against BBGE, the will become a sitting duck to be kited around the hall. As any grow man whould say, it's super effective. At later stage you have Enervation. Not the best right of the bat nor the first to pick up, but when you can stack some metamagic on it and chain cast it can become quite devastating. And as a grand finale, the all-loved horrid wilthing. Tired of those pesky rogue with evasion? Necromancy has the solution for you!

Silver Crusade

The key to a Sorc is to pick spells based on two criteria:

1 - It is a single purpose spell, but the purpose is one you'll be using a lot. Direct damage such as Magic Missile is an example.

2 - The spell has multiple uses, at least one of which will come up fairly often and the others are at least plausible. Grease is a perfect example; it's mostly a terrain control spell, but you can use it to break buddies free of a Grapple, make someone drop their weapon, and more.

Summons also fit this criteria, but you should talk with your DM first and make sure they're comfortable with you running Summon Monster spells. Some DMs aren't, because inexperienced summoners (and Summoners, the formal class, for that matter) can slow down combat significantly. This of course assumes you're interested in summons in the first place; if not then you have no need to pursue them. If you do pick up summoning though, Spell Focus Conjuration (leading into Augment Summoning) is a must.

Stazamos suggests Summon 1 and 2 aren't so great as "no idea, grab something at random" choices and this is partially true. However, if you specifically plan to pursue summoning and are willing to spend a few skill ranks on Linguistics for the four elemental languages, even these spells are nice. Summon 1 can give you a cheap flanker for your buddies to work with, and Summon 2 has some genuinely viable fighters; Small Earth Elemental is very good for the level. Don't take Summon 1 until you hit Sorcerer Class Level 3 though, the duration is too short otherwise. Summon 2 also has a few fun troubleshooter options, since the Small Elementals can be spoken to and given orders ("put out that fire" to a water elemental, etc.).

Important Edit: Remember that summoned animals in Pathfinder are Intelligence 2, and thus you cannot directly give them orders unlike in 3.5 where they often had Int 3 (which was a major distinction). At least, not without something like a scroll of Speak with Animals. You might be able to coax them into things with the Handle Animal skill as well, but these are nonetheless summoned animals. Elementals, Archons, etc. obviously don't have this problem provided you have a shared language (some Good Outsiders have Tongues/Truespeech/etc.; that works too)

I partially disagree with Dekalinder's opinion on when Sorcs become fun. He's right that you struggle at first, this is absolutely true when compared to virtually any other casting class. However, You can get the basics of a build working by Level 3, then 4 and 5 fill in some of the side things you want. By level 6 or 7 the build should be fully functional. Levels 1 and 2 suck. Absolutely lame levels. The team will have to 'carry' you for those two levels aside from good luck with various control spells (Grease ensures you're almost always relevant in one way or another), but level 3 and onward are decent; the notion that you have to wait until level 10 to be worthwhile strikes me as extreme.

A few other random spell thoughts:

Consider taking Acid Splash, the level 0 1d3 Acid Damage spell. Not so much for the damage itself, but for its convenient use against Trolls and other "Regeneration stopped by Acid" foes.

Mage Armor as a Spell Known is a bad idea. Better to have a few scrolls or a wand of it if that's your concern; your party should be able to screen for you most of the time and make keeping it as a Spell Known rather unnecessary. It's basically a question of "would you rather have +4 AC, or would you rather be tripping enemies, disarming them, making it hard for them to reach you to begin with, and so on via Grease?" You might eventually want Mage Armor a few levels later on, but I wouldn't go with it as an early choice. The same is true of Shield.

The advice on finding a few things that can work even on creatures with Spell Resistance is apt. Summons are the most obvious way to get around it, but many other choices (such as buffing allies), etc. were mentioned by others in this thread and they're absolutely right.

It's true that Wizards are generally better, but Sorcs are still playable, viable, and can pull their weight in the party. They're actually my most played class, and aside from a few players lamenting that a Sorc isn't a very good magic item crafter or wishing I had earlier access to Haste... nobody has really complained. They usually feel the Sorc is a decent addition to the party. Not the best, but good enough that they don't mind.


Summons tend to be really good only against moster weak enaugh to pose no threat to competent adventurers. And at low level they last like nothing. Untill you go high enaugh to unlock summons with nice SLA or with a size big enaugh to be a phisical obstacle you better stay away from them. And i would never reccommend to actually specialize in it unless you are a summoner.
You are speaking of small earth elemental. Doesn't seems bad on paper. But even if you are taking it as first spell (and i would not reccomand it) you are talking of level 4 char. Hou much you think a CR 1 creature can be usefull against a CR 4? and remember, a CR 4 is still an actual easy fight. A difficoult fight, for witch you should save you most powerfull spells, are actually a CR 6 or even 7. Just how much usefull do you think you elemental will be, on top of the fact that it takes an entire round to summon it, compared to a standard action miagic missiles (and i'm comparing with the crappyest spell you could throw).


Celestial Pegasus wrote:
Levels 1 and 2 suck. Absolutely lame levels. The team will have to 'carry' you for those two levels aside from good luck with various control spells.

Last sorc I played carried the party at level 1 with true strike and a greatsword.

Silver Crusade

Dekalinder, nobody will argue that a summoned monster is going to be a top notch front line fighter. The point of the Summon Monster spells is to augment the group, not carry it.

Rogue needs a flanker for sneak attacks? Summon one!
Need an extra meat shield between the archers/casters and bad guys? Summon one!

You really seem to be missing the point of battlefield control. The controller's job is to make it easier for the rest of the team to deal enough damage to kill the bad guys, not to do all the damage himself.

Andoran

Obirandiath wrote:
If you're open to other race options, I point people towards human Sorcerers with the Arcane bloodline. You get an extra spell each level for being human, and Arcane adds even more spells to your list. The big drawback to playing a Sorcerer is limited spells known, but a human Arcane Sorcerer has more spells known than any other spontaneous caster.

I'm going to disagree with part of this.

Human Sorcerers have a huge advantage in spells known, enough so that the few extra spells known you'd get from the Arcane bloodline aren't going to have as big an impact as they would for another race (without all of those bonus spells from Favored Class Bonus). The Arcane bloodline has some other nice features, but don't be that tempted by the few extra spells.

Arcane isn't bad, mind you, but neither are Draconic, Orc, Primal, Fey, Stormborn, Aberrant, Serpentine, Infernal, or Abyssal. There are a lot of great bloodlines that might work for you.

Andoran

Malik2012 wrote:
...even that If I get create rods or scroll I can only make them with the spells I already know.

You'll be at least 9th level before you can get the Craft Rod feat. If you decide you want it, know that you can craft rods without having the prerequisite Metamagic feat simply by adding +5 to the Spellcraft DC to craft the item (it'll still be pretty easy to make that roll).

You're right, though, that you won't be able to create scrolls of spells you don't know. Prerequisite spells cannot be ignored when making spell trigger or spell completion items (or potions).

If you're going to get just one Item Creation feat, though, make sure it's Craft Wondrous Item.

Andoran

Dekalinder wrote:
necro gives you a vast array of spell that remain usefull from start up till level 20, also nicely spread through levels. At level 1 you have the old powerhouse of Ray of Enfeeblement, that at later stages when empowered reaps blood and sorrow from any melee opponent. At level 3 you have ray of exaustion. Both have great effects even on a succeded saves. The latter can also be double caster for 100% effectiveness. Against BBGE, the will become a sitting duck to be kited around the hall. As any grow man whould say, it's super effective. At later stage you have Enervation. Not the best right of the bat nor the first to pick up, but when you can stack some metamagic on it and chain cast it can become quite devastating. And as a grand finale, the all-loved horrid wilthing. Tired of those pesky rogue with evasion? Necromancy has the solution for you!

I like Necromancy, too. I played a necromancy-focused Sorcerer in my last campaign (primarily because the character was a late entry, and I didn't want to step on any of the other character's toes by stealing their shtick). Actually, she was focused on necromancy and cold-based blasts.

Let me add to the above list of fun Necromancy spells...
I really like Spectral Hand. It's like a free Reach metamagic up to Medium range with all of your touch spells. Slap a Protection From Evil on the dominated Barbarian from over 100 feet away. Or give the Rogue Improved Invisibility from at least 180 feet away. It works well with attack spells, too (like Vampiric Touch or Ghoul Touch).

Blindness/Deafness is a great debuff that's permanent until cured. So is Bestow Curse.

Fear is a 30 foot cone, it'll likely last the whole combat if they fail, and they're even shaken for a round if they succeed (best to be flying when you cast it).

Magic Jar can be positively brutal.

Waves of Exhaustion is a large area, no save debuff.

Necromancy is all kinds of fun...


I started a campaign a few weeks ago, we started at lv1.

I didn't know what to make, so i rolled a d20 to decide at random, and got sorcerer.

So I made a crossblooded Draconic/Elemental (Primal) for the acid damage boost. First off, I wanna say you shouldn't go crossblooded unless you're ok with being essentially a one trick pony. ESPECIALLY at level 1.

I picked Color Spray as my lv1 spell, and Acid splash, prestidigitation, and dancing lights as my cantrips.

Let me tell you, at low levels, Color Spray is a beast. I like it more than Sleep. Of course, our first 2 battles were against undeads, so that sucked. I had to rely on 1d3+3 Acid splashes, and my trusty longspear. But that's ok, because that's where teamwork comes into play.

you probably shouldnt be using lv1 spell slots on damage-dealing spells, as they don't deal enough damage to warrant anything (MM? 1d4+1, Burning hands? 1d4 reflex half, Shocking Grasp? 1d6 Touch attack)


About level 1 being awful: If you're minmaxing you can have a 1st level sorc that deals 1D3+7 with ray of frost, which he can use unlimited times per day.

Or you could sacrifice 1 of those +7 and have a PC that deals 1D3+6 and the enemy has to make a save or be slowed.

Some of the things you have to take to get that damage will not be as good later on. But that a first level sorc has to be weak is just silly.

@Sangalore: As you have to hit AC with a light crossbow instead touch AC with a ray of frost I'm not sure why you would want to do that.

Shadow Lodge

Umbranus wrote:

About level 1 being awful: If you're minmaxing you can have a 1st level sorc that deals 1D3+7 with ray of frost, which he can use unlimited times per day.

Or you could sacrifice 1 of those +7 and have a PC that deals 1D3+6 and the enemy has to make a save or be slowed.

Ok how do you get those numbers at level 1? I'm actually interested now

crossblooded draconic/primal gives you +2, Point blank shot gives you another +1 so we're at a total of +3 now, where is the other 4 coming from?


use liquid ice as a material focus (+1 damage), Arcane Strike (+1 damage)...and idk where the other 2 come from.


I didn't use arcane strike I'm not even sure that would work but it's another discussion that was done in another thread.

I made a thread about it here: http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz5l8x?What-bonuses-can-you-stack-on-damage-cantr ips#1


Umbranus wrote:

...

@Sangalore: As you have to hit AC with a light crossbow instead touch AC with a ray of frost I'm not sure why you would want to do that.

I was just pointing out some options the op has. At that level the only difference in BAB to other classes is that to the full BAB classes, so with a decent dex he is quite competitive with weapon damage :-)

Also, comparing spells to weapons is not adequate IMO. Let's take your ray of frost: While it is a good spell, you have
- energy resistances
- concentration checks (for defensive casting)
- low base damage
- you are immediately recognized as a spell caster
With a light crossbow you got 1d8, add +1 for arcane strike. It usually just works at that level and thus increases your options.

A lot of the suggestions are great for playing a sorcerer like caster. I expected that and simply wanted to point out how you could play sorcerer in a different way :-)

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