|Dennis Baker RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor|
|Lord Fyre RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32|
|James Jacobs Creative Director|
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Campaign Setting / General Discussion
Ok so whats the deal here?
We have the Runlords, all 7 of em, Xin, Jatambe, Aroden, Arazni, Nex, Geb, Tar-Baphon, Alicavniss Vonnarc, Razmir (which from here on out in my games is a sorcerer cause this is bull s&%*), etc. All Wizards. All level 18+.
You even have Baba Yaga and her daughter and current ruler of Irrisen both level 20+.
You even have Artokus Kirran as a level 20+ alchemist.
So where oh where are the 18-20+ level sorcerers at? I mean yes theres some, SOME, sorcerers, but none at that level that have had a major impact in canon, and most of them are multiclassed. I mean does Paizo hate sorcerers so much and think that they are so sub par to wizards that we get no 18-20+ level sorcerers?
Ill put it like this. I love everything Paizo puts out. I buy every book they produce save a very small list of them, and i mean small, like two to three items. I buy many PF miniatures, game mastery map packs, flip mats, flying tiles, etc. Ive always had a disdain for anything from outer space in my fantasy games, but i love the flavor Paizo gave to Numeria and put into the Distant Worlds book, which is one of my favorites. I also have never been big on oriental themed areas nor their versions of dragons, yet Paizo again made me a believer as i love both the Dragon Empires Gazetteer, as well as the Primal dragons or whatever you call em.
But this, THIS is just getting ridiculous. I love sorcerers and the flavor they bring, yet its like they get no love. Ill bring up the fact that most sorcerer options we get are bloodlines, where as other classes, especially wizards get so much more that they can take after character creation. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but this is just too much. I really think theres something much bigger going on here.
Let me know your thoughts.
Sorcerers are one trick ponies in comparison. While they an be awesome as singular figures, when you're playing rival runelord level, they're essentially stuck at a single schtick, and since the runelords are solo figures they'll eventually be maneuvered around. Wizards on the other hand, are changeable flexible, which is something that can make a key difference when you're operating at near-Amber levels.
Personally I think it makes sense even though I'm a major sorcerer fan myself. Wizards and Alchemists are inherently more creative, and don't forget, MORE INTELLIGENT. Sorcerers on the other hand simply aren't as suited for the big time mass political game, as opposed to one on one encounters.
You'll also notice a dearth of ruling Magues to, because of their more narrow focus, they've got blind sides of their own which handicap them in the meaglomanical ruler profession.
Story Archer wrote:
Think of it like this - pretty much everything with a supernatural or spell-like ability is a sorcerer. From that perspective, they are everywhere...
Uh, no definitely not. That's like saying anything with a Strength score and a natural weapon is a fighter. Only sorcerers are sorcerers, and there does seem to be a dearth of them in Golarion. I thought for sure Razmir would be a sorcerer, but no - another wizard.
There is mention of a super powerful sorcerer called the Ruby Phoenix in the Ruby Phoenix Tournament module, but she was from Tian Xia.
more intelligent doesnt always mean more creative, and any good sorcerer worth his weight will be able to be effective against any enemy.
furthermore, they dont just have to be involved in politics to make a global presence or have a global impact. jatembe could have easily been a sorcerer rather than a wizard.
and as far as versatile for a party, that doesnt mean there cant be high level npcs for sorcerers.
and as far a versatile goes, thats if you KNOW whats coming up and what to prepare, and as for that argument, knowing whats gonna happen the next day is a very rare case indeed. in all my years of gaming ive seen one time when the party knew exactly what we were about to face, so the argument of more versatile doesnt hold up for me. no offense, just saying what ive learned from my personal gaming experience. (and no, ive never seen anybody even take the divination spells youd need to help you prepare spells, let alone even cast them, especially for that reason).
Generic Villain wrote:
are her stats listed anywhere other than the module? or at least an idea of her stats?
If you're not involved in politics, then everything relies on your own strength. However if you succeed in the political game you have the weight of cities, nations, and empires at your beck and call. That's what makes the fearsome magical figures of Conan that much more powerful, the cults and follwers they lead. Greater intelligence generally brings about greater flexibility.
Paizo has said nothing about there being a total lack of 18-20th level sorcerers, they're just not really suited to world domination as well as their learned counterparts.
OTOH, sorcerers are known for Charisma, which can be very helpful in the political game.Charismatic madmen and con artists are great for leading cults or world domination.
No and no, she's just a plot element. Her name was Hao Jin and she earned her Ruby Phoenix sobriquet because she died many times, only to return to life thanks to contingencies she set in place. She was centuries old and thought to be immortal, but dissappeared and hasn't been seen since. Her fate is unknown but most think she is truly dead. Also, while she is referred to as a sorceress, there's no guarantee that was actually her class. But I figure calling her a sorceress is more specific then just "mage" or "arcanist," so that's what I'm guessing she was.
Generic Villain wrote:
Keep in mind that outside of game mechanics, any powerful spellcaster in literature is usually refered to as a "sorcerer". Even though in execution they tend to operate like wizards.
I disagree strongly here. Very very few sorcerers/wizards in fiction sit down and 'prepare' spells. If you want to dig into fiction, most spellcasting is far closer to a sorcerer using the optional words of power system than anything else.
Dennis Baker wrote:
Yeah, you venture outside of D&D/Pathfinder-licensed fiction, the only place you're going to see a spellcaster that operates like a wizard is in the writings of Jack Vance.
It's not even the lack of high-level-sorceres that bugs me - it's the fact that the vast majority of Golarion's high-level NPCs seem to be wizards and clerics. I'd like to see a few renowned martial characters play a greater role in the world, but haven't seen too much outside of the Land of the Linnorm Kings. What about legendary thieves? Masters of the wilderness?
Uninvited Ghost wrote:
Xykon is boring?
There's no sinister secret or plot here.
There are high level sorcerers on Golarion... but we haven't really done much with them (aka invented many of them) yet.
When I was compiling the list of famous spellcasters for pages 5–7 of Inner Sea Magic... that was really the first time we'd ever really nailed down actual levels for a LOT of the famous spellcasting NPCs we'd mentioned up to that point in Golarion products.
It was tricky.
Because I really REALLY wanted to include at least one example of each and every spellcasting class on that list. And when I went through what we'd written about these spellcasters in print to date at the time... the vast majority of them were wizards.
Of course, a little bit of this is due to the fact that we set up the seven runelords as single-classed wizards... but most of the other key spellcasters ended up being wizards as well—Arazni, Aroden, Jatembe, Nex, Razmir, etc...
Why is that? I'm not sure, frankly, but if I had to guess, it's because the primary architects of Golarion and the Inner Sea and their NPCs (such as myself and Erik) have pretty old school sensibilities. When we think back to OUR favorite campaigns from our early days, those memories are of 1st edition—a setting that didn't have sorcerers. Those settings still had powerful spellcasters... but those spellcasters tended to be wizards. Elminster. Mordenkainen. The Circle of Eight. Raistlin. And so on.
And so, when we were building Golarion, there was a strong element of nostalgia fueling our creativity. I suspect that the fact that we put so many wizards into the world and not many sorcerers is a subconsious reflection of that.
As a result... when it came to me listing the 50-some powerful spellcasters, there was no shortage of wizards. But finding other spellcasters started getting tricky.
Now, that said... there ARE some powerful sorcerers out there in the Inner Sea region. Just looking at the list in Inner Sea Magic reveals the Mother of Flies (she's "only" a 14th level sorcerer... but that's on top of her green hag powers so she's a bit tougher than a human sorcerer of that level!), Kholas (also only 14th level, but he's a vampire!), Kortash Khain (who's a ghoul mystic theurge10 sorcerer 5/cleric 5 who also happens to be a mythic character... so that's pretty bad-ass in and of itself), Eando Kline (super multiclassed and hardly a badass sorcerer, but he's pretty famous nonetheless), and of course Abrogail Thrune II (the leader of Cheliax and a 16th level sorcerer/2nd level aristocrat).
That's a fair amount of sorcerer representation, including one mythic sorcerer, on a list of 50 spellcasters that had to represent over a dozen spellcasting classes.
FURTHERMORE... if and when we get around to using those NPCs in adventures... their actual levels when the PCs encounter them are often higher. Remember, the levels listed there are "snapshots" at the start of the campaign. After a six part adventure path... just as the PCs gained, say, 15 levels, it's not unlikely to expect, say, Abrogail Thrune would gain 2 sorcerer levels.
Of course, once you start looking at our various adventures and Adventure Paths, you'll see sorcerers showing up rather often.
Which is a way of saying there are more sorcerers out there than we've talked about yet!
I know of 2 sorcerers that hold big positions in Golarion, both from Tian Xia, curiously enough:
The Tien Sorcerers Kamraten Khemkhaeng (human sorcerer 11) and Shethagri (royal naga sorcerer 9, i.e. the equivalent of an 18th level sorcerer, technically). Those two rule the Tien countries of Dtang Ma and Nagajor respectively.
In fact Dtang Ma as a country hugely favours sorcerers, being ruled by a council of 4 of them with traditions heavily rooted in a history of rule beneath 4 specific bloodlines of sorcery (Fey, Maestro, Starsoul, and Stormborn).
Again, you're confusing game mechanics with story. (And remmember Jack Vance preceded the game by decades.) If you extrapolate from game mechanics, the big bad magicians as well as the good ones are always creating new spells and rites... that's a wizard trick. Whereas sorcerers are bound by their inner talents, they don't research new spells, spells just come to them. Stephen Strange is called the "Sorcerer Supreme" but he's clearly a wizard in theme in that he has a literal library of spellbooks to draw from.
The sorcerer as directly drawn from the class game mechanic construct has litle to no background in fantasy literature. about the closest would be Shandril and her spellfire. What you're thinking of as a sorcerer is a Wizard unbound by Vancian restrictions, only those of plot.
Important thing to remember that even in D%D, prior to 3.0 Wizard/Magic-User and Sorcerer were interchangeable terms. Sorcerer in fact was one of the level titles for the Magic-User in AD&D. In 3.X, the sorcerer was really nothing more than a cut down Wizard for the player who couldn't be bothered to memorize spells. It's really only in Pathfinder that the Sorcerer begins to have a distinct identity of her own.
Or the distinction between wizards and sorcerers is a game mechanics thing that isn't really reflected in most fantasy literature.Some are strictly book learning, anyone smart enough can do it. For some it's innate power or power bargained from some other being. Some have magic neatly bound up in spells. Some improvise. Some do both. Some need the proper genetics, but also have to learn specific spells.
Strictly defining sorcerers as "sorcerers are bound by their inner talents, they don't research new spells, spells just come to them" while wizards are everyone else, makes no more sense than defining wizards as "strictly Vancian memorizing from spellbooks" and everyone else is a sorcerer. And no less.
Nor of course, is it impossible for sorcerers to create new spells, even in Pathfinder.
Actually I remember only one really powerfull sorcerer from all my 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder sources, Dyrr the Lichdrow (Stats were in Dragon at one time). Nasty piece of work that one ^^.
Of course with UC and the new items to add more spells to a sorcerers list certain limitations would no longer apply.
Technically, fictional mages draw from both; they have inate talents that they learn to develop, and can memorize spells for a long time, they rarely have to prepare spells unless said spell require time and/or special components.
Actually it is, unless the DM allows the player to do so as part of level advancement and an opening of a new spell known slot or retraining an old one. A sorcerer can't add to summ of his spell knowledge only change it.
No, the sorcerer can't learn more spells by creating them, but that doesn't stop him from creating them. Most likely it would be done as you said, as part of (or prior to) level advancement.It's an optional system, but so is creating new spells for Wizards. There is no difference suggested, other than the skills involved.
That and the fact that the sorcerer can't exceed the total number of spells known as provided by level,feats, traits and/or favored class bonuses.
As far as fiction's concerned, it's often a lot easier to cover your plot needs with wizards, just because they have access to so many different spells. Sorcerers make great spell cannons, but how often do you need a spell cannon to play a starring role in a story vs. a PC-driven campaign?
This is especially true when we're talking about high-level characters, whose role is generally to be a historical figure, worldbuilding explanation, and/or late-stage antagonist.
That's my feeling, at least, which is why I tend to reach for the high-level "Wizard" bin before the "Sorcerer" one. I've used sorcerers in Pathfinder fiction (Jelani and Ascaros, most notably), but they're more midlevel sorts.
Liane Merciel wrote:
As far as fiction's concerned, it's often a lot easier to cover your plot needs with wizards, just because they have access to so many different spells.
Outside of the rather narrow market of D&D/Pathfinder licensed fiction + Jack Vance, the words wizard, sorcerer, warlock, witch, mage, etc are most often used completely interchangably.
And if you were going to model them for a RPG, the most common would probably use something like a Sorcerer's inborn potential, study scrolls and books to learn magic like a Wizard and use some kind of spell point system, probably with a mechanic for creating spells on the fly.Classing them all as "wizards" because of the use of spellbooks makes no sense. Anymore than classifying them all as "Sorcerers" because they don't prepare spells for the day.
Oh, yeah, sorry if that wasn't clear. In my post above, I was talking exclusively about RPG-licensed fiction, specifically D&D and Pathfinder. Since the original question seemed to be focused on why you don't see more high-level sorcerers in Golarion canon sources, that was my answer for why I haven't used any (and don't have any planned for the next book either).
For non-tie-in fiction, none of that matters.
[tangent]When 3.0 came out with the Sorcerer, we almost immediately house-ruled that if a Sorcerer researched a new spell, they could choose to immediately replace one of their previous spells known with the newly researched spell.
Later, given the cost and time involved, and the utter lack of anyone willing to play a Sorcerer instead of a Wizard anyway, we house-ruled that if a Sorcerer researched a new spell, they could add it to their spells known *without* replacing a previous known spell, effectively increasing their number of spells known for that level by one.
Still, no one wanted to play one, so the house rules were moot.
Aroden, Arazni, Nex, and Geb were definitely not runelords.
Here is the runelord list.
Alaznist, Runelord of Wrath
Belimarius, Runelord of Envy
Karzoug, Runelord of Greed <----In an AP
Krune, Runelord of Sloth
Sorshen, Runelord of Lust
Xanderghul, Runelord of Pride
Zutha, Runelord of Gluttony
With that aside some high level sorcerers would be nice.
you definitely miss read my post.
i didnt want to take the time to list the runelords individually. had i wanted to name the runelords geb, nex, aroden, etc, the post would have read like this;
"We have the Runlords, all 7 of em (Xin, Jatambe, Aroden, Arazni, Nex, Geb, Tar-Baphon, Alicavniss Vonnarc)"
thats not what a wrote. i wrote "We have the Runlords, all 7 of em, Xin, Jatambe, Aroden, Arazni, Nex, Geb, Tar-Baphon, Alicavniss Vonnarc, Razmir..." so the runelords are listed just not by name AND THEN i list other wizards outside of the runelords.
you read it as those were the runelords when instead of just 7 wizards listed there theres 15 i list.
and i meant to say the baba yaga and her daughter were witches. i didnt get that in the post.
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Heh, I don't know. You say there's a lack of high level sorcerers, I say "Challenge accepted!" Perhaps the first high level sorcerer that makes a splash in Golarion...is your own PC! ;)
wrong again sir. my sorcerer died at level 10 due to interparty conflict and a power gamed player character. and this is why i hate power gaming.
and i was more referring to having something canon, and no, they cant appease me by just making one 18+ sorcerer. there needs to be like 12.
all im saying is that there needs to be more sorcerers level 18+ in cannon.
and for those who mentioned that blasty characters arent all that appealing, not only will i disagree with you about them not being interesting, not all sorcerers are blasters. they can take spells outside of evocation. granted their spells are limited by how many the know, but that doesnt mean they cant learn good illusion, enchantment, conjuration, etc spells.
and really you would get something similar with wizards since they can only prepare so many spells per day and they have to prepared multiple if they are in need of them. so technically their spell list is set too until the next day.
plus, there are these things in the game called wands, rod, staves, and scrolls that im sure the sorcerer can use for the spells he doesnt have. i bet he can even get them at a discounted price with his high charisma ;)
I've always thought that the limit on the number of spells known alone was a good limiting factor to keep sorcerers balanced with wizards. The delayed spell progression just seems like it's WotC saying "So you don't want Vancian casting? Well FU!"
That and the 'no Quicken Spell' thing, back in the day, yeah.
With no familiarity with the concept of non-Vancian casting, I felt at the time that the design team that made the Sorcerer and hampered it with delayed progression seriously overestimated how powerful that option would be and feared that nobody would play Wizards.
Many years later, after a bajillion posts about 'god Wizards' and 'Batman Wizards' and Wizards (along with Clerics and Druids) being the 'top tier' classes, and the Sorcerer an ugly stepchild by comparison, I think their initial fears about making the Sorcerer 'too good' have been pretty much proven groundless.
The developers / designers notions about play balance did sometimes seem to fly in the face of internet assumptions, 'though. By the time Unearthed Arcana came out, there were tons of options to add this and subtract that from various classes, and then there was the Domain Wizard (which just flat out added more power to the Wizard class) and a sidebar about adding a free Domain to Druids, both options that gave free boosts to two of the classes that the WotC forum regulars generally regarded as the *last* two that needed a boost.
Pathfinder 36: Sound of a Thousand Scream has Nyrissa (Nymph Sorcerer 6/Mystic Theurge 10) (as Sorcerer stacks with Ny,ph casting she casts as a 17th level Sorcerer)
Pathfinder 6: Spires of Xin-Shalast has another Nymph sorcerer. The PF fan conversion is here: Svevenka (Icy Nymph Druid 8)(effective sorc CL 15).
Also all Dragons cast as sorcerers iirc.
Gah, Nymph of course stacks with druid casting, so ignore Svevenka...