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Magic is in My Blood...and it Burns: Primal Magic as a Sorcerer Bloodline


RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Raw magic is woven into the fabric of any in-game reality, a case made no more evident than in the nature of the sorcerer class. So when Inner Sea Magic re-introduced primal (or wild) magic, a form of magic highlighting the often unpredictable and sometimes dangerous nature of raw magic, I was surprised to see it as a wizard archetype instead of a sorcerer bloodline.

Sorcerers currently have both the Arcane Bloodline, which imitates the studious wizardly way to magic (without the actual studying), and the Protean Bloodline, which favors the chaos part of magic. Separately, I don’t feel either of these work quite well enough to depict a sorcerer’s intimate relationship with the world’s raw arcane energies. So here is a reworking of the primal magic archetype just for sorcerers.


Primal Magic Bloodline

Your soul emerged from an arcane crucible, putting the mastery of primal magic just within your reach. You can seem distant at times, as you can feel the arcane fibers that are woven through creation, and while others would only dare tap these primal sources after years of study, you readily test your resolve to forge these unbound energies to your will.

Class Skill: Knowledge (planes).

Bonus Spells: identify (3rd), make whole (5th), dispel magic (7th), dimension door (9th), major creation (11th), disintegrate (13th), spell turning (15th), maze (17th), wish (19th).

Bonus Feats: Combat Casting, Improved Counterspell, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Toughness, Skill Focus (spellcraft), Spell Penetration, Extend Spell.

Bloodline Arcana: Whenever you apply a metamagic feat to a spell that increases the slot used by at least one level, you receive a +2 bonus to any caster level checks to overcome the target’s spell resistance. This bonus does not stack with itself.

Bloodline Powers: You enjoy a more intimate relationship with the arcane, drawing forth magic in its truest form to mold and shape as needed, sometimes with unforeseeable consequences.

Primal Magic (Su): At 1st level, you may attempt to channel primal magic as a full round action to cast any spell on the sorcerer spell list. Essentially, you are forcing primal magic into the world and attempting to shape it into a specific spell effect. To use this ability, you first must expend a spell slot of the appropriate level, then begin to cast the spell as normal. If the spell is not one of the spells on your list of known spells, you must first make a spellcraft check (DC 20 + the spell’s level). If this check is successful, or if the spell is one that you know, you must then make a concentration check (DC 20 + double the spell’s level). If you fail either of these checks, you expend the spell slot anyway, but its actual effects are replaced by a primal magic event with a CR equal to your caster level and you are staggered for 1 round per level of the spell you were attempting to cast. If you make these checks, you cast the spell normally.
You may use primal magic in this manner once per day. At 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th, you may use this ability an additional time per day.

Guide Primal Magic Event (Su): At 3rd level, any round after you have triggered a primal magic event, and while the effects of the event still persist, you may use a swift action to increase or decrease its CR by 1. If you make a concentration check (DC 15 + the primal magic event’s CR), you can instead increase or decrease the CR by 2. If you reduce a primal magic event’s CR to less than 1, the event is negated.

Primal Surge (Su): At 9th level, whenever you trigger a primal magic event, you roll the percentile dice twice to determine the event that occurs and choose which one of the two possible events occurs.

Primal Paragon (Su): At 15th level, you become resistant to the effects of primal magic events. Anytime an event would affect you, the GM rolls 1d20 + the event’s CR against a DC of 11 + your sorcerer level. If this roll fails, the event does not affect you. This is similar to a creature with spell resistance ignoring magical effects with an SR check. If the primal magic event is duplicating the effects of a spell that does not allow spell resistance (such as create pit), this resistance does not apply.

Primal Lifeblood (Ex): At 20th level, you are one with the arcana of creation. As long as the ageless veins of magic run throughout the world, so too shall you. You take no penalty to your physical ability scores from advanced age. If you are already taking such penalties, they are removed at this time. You will not die as a result of old age, although other means of death will still prove effective.


There it is. The only real changes I made were to adapt the primal magic ability as well as add the extra bloodline spells, feats and arcana. I thought quite a while about how to adapt the primal magic ability and figured that if the wizard archetype effectively removed the wizard’s greatest weakness, then uncapping the sorcerer’s biggest weakness is still in line with what the archetype was doing. In any case, the campaign I play in, which I adapted this for, is a high level, highly empowered game where a bloodline like this won’t necessarily be overshadowing anyone.

Just be warned: Concentration checks, even ones as high as 20 + 2x spell level, can be made trivially easy with the right build. This bloodline can make a sorcerer effectively have the entire spell list at hand without penalty.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

I'm aware of the unprecedented access to the spell list this bloodline would give to the player and am certainly interested in reigning it in a bit, so here's what I'm thinking:

1. Clarify that the spell slot being spent must be the the same level as the spell you are trying to cast.
2. Limit the use of Primal Magic to spells one level lower than you are capable of casting.
3. Increase the DC of both checks to 20 + triple the spell's level
4. Change the number of times the ability can be used to 1/day at 1st level, and then to 2/day at 10th level, and 3/day at 20th.

Even with a character optimized to pass the highest DC's, you would still fail the attempted use of Primal Magic if either d20 comes up a natural 1.

I like the general idea, but Primal Magic is unsuited to be a first-level bloodline ability. As far as I know, with the exception of Arcane and Sylvan (which each grant a permanent companion) every sorcerer bloodline's first-level ability is a 3+Cha/day ability to compensate for a sorcerer's limited slots at those low levels, so that she still has something to do other than spam Acid Splash. An ability that's usable once per day plus once every few levels and consumes slots on top of that is more appropriate to be a third- or ninth-level ability.

Liberty's Edge

Ive done something very similar before though my take on it was a bit different, though inspired by the various incarnations of Wild Mages and Wild Magic from previous editions of D&D, here is how I did my primal bloodline.

Primal Bloodline
You are charged with primal magical energies and can tap into ebbs and flow of this unrefined magical power.

Class Skills: Knowledge (Any one)
Bonus Spells: Entropic Shield (3rd), Eldrich Conduit (5th), Dispell Magic (7th), Suppress Primal Magic(9th), Spell Absorption (11th), AntiMagic field (13th), Prismatic Spray (15th) SpellScar (17th) Wish (19th)
Bonus Feats: Combat Casting, Empower Spell, Improved Counterspell, Improved Initiative, Iron Will,Maximize Spell, Skill Focus (Knowledge [arcana]), Spell Focus.
Bloodline Arcana: When you cast a spell roll a d6 to determine a special effect, if that effect would not alter the spell then the spell is cast without modification.
1-No additional effect
2-Destructive power: Spell deals an extra point of damage per die.
3-Empowered Summons: Any creature bound or summoned by you gains a DR/Magic equal to 1/2 your Sorcerer level.
4-Enhanced Duration: If the spell has a duration is it increased by 50%
5-Strengthened Spell: The Spells DC is increased by one.
6-No additional Effect

Bloodline Powers: Magic comes naturally to you, flowing through you in a wild torrent of raw power.

Spell Shaping (SP) At 1st level, you may attempt to channel primal magic as a swift action to cast a known spell without expending one of your spells. Essentially you are attempting to shape raw magic into the desired effect. To use this ability, she casts the spell as she would normally, but before the spell’s effects take place she makes a Concentration check of DC 20 + double the spell’s level. If she fails this check, she expends the spell normally as if she had cast it, but its actual effects are replaced by a primal magic event with a CR equal to her caster level and she is dazed for 1 round per level of the spell she was attempting to cast. If she makes this check, she casts a spell normally and it is not expended from her spells per day. You may use primal magic in this manner once at first level and an additional time per day at 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th level.

Spell Surge (SP) At 3rd level, you can attempt to shape raw arcane energy and apply the empower metamagic feat to a spell you are about to cast without increasing the casting time or spell level. To do this you must roll a Spellcraft check (DC 20+ twice the Spell level) if you fail roll randomly on the Rod of Wonder to determine the effect that occurs using the spells target as if it was the rods, and your caster level and DCs to determine effects. If you succeed the spell is cast as if it was empowered with out taking a higher level spell slot or a full round actions. You can use this ability once per day at 3rd level and one additional time per day for every four sorcerer levels you possess beyond 3rd, up to five times per day at 19th level

Magic Sculpting (SP) At 9th level you may spend a spell use per day and attempt to shape raw magic into spells you do not know, even that are not on your spell list and do not require an expensive material component(1000gp or more) or divine focus, this functions like Aura Shaping except that you may use your spell slot to attempt to cast a spell you do not know but is on your spell lists at a DC of 25+ twice the spell level or you can cast spells not on your spell list at a DC of 30+ twice the spell level. The Spells level is still limited to the level of the spell slot used. Succeed or fail you must expend the spell slot and it may not be effected by Metamagic Feats or Spell Surge. You may use this ability one time per day at level 9 and one additional time every 3 level there after.

Magical Atunement(SP) At 15th level once per day when you use a magical item or interact with magical effect that has a random result you may roll twice, (or draw twice in the case of magical decks) and select witch result you wish to occur. You may use this power twice per day at 17th level and 3 times per day at 20th level.

Mystic Conduit At 20th level your body writhes with raw arcane power, your eyes crackle with light and you are surrounded by an aura of power. You cease aging and incurring aging penalties, you gain a DR of 10/Magic and the ability to fly at will at a speed equal to your land speed.

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