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Level 1 Sorcerer vs. Level 1 Wizard?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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If I am reading the rules correctly it seems like a first level sorcerer can cast more spells per day that a first level wizard. Won’t that make the sorcerer more powerful at low levels? At some point the wizard catch up or surpass the sorcerer?


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A 1st level sorcerer with, lets say, a 16 Charisma, can cast 4 1st level spells per day. However, he only knows two different first level spells.

A 1st level wizard with 16 Intelligence can only cast 2 first level spells, but knows 4 different first level spells (3 minimum, +1 from his Intelligence). As a minimum - he could of spent time and money to learn more.

So, while the wizard does have fewer spell slots, he know more spells. Wizards have more options then sorcerers, and can change what spells they have prepared every day. A sorcerer is pretty much stuck with what he knows.

(Plus, sorcerers get access to higher level spells a level later then wizards. Wizards get 2nd level spells at 3rd level, while sorcerers have to wait until 4th level.)

Silver Crusade

Sorcerers benefit from being able to cast more spells per day of a given spell level but are very limited on how many spells they can know overall. They also get Bloodline powers/abilities that help balance things a bit.

Wizards can't cast as many spells as a sorcerer but can know any number of spells, that gives the wizard greater flexibility. Wizards are intended to be the penultimate arcane magic user because of the lack of restrictions on spell knowledge.

That's my take on it.


Sorcerer vs wizard at all levels is versatility vs spell count. Sorcerers cast more spells from a greatly limited set while wizards cast fewer spells but can prepare their daily spells from a much larger set.

Most experienced players feel this gives the edge to the wizard over the sorcerer.

At level 1 though wizards still are building their spell books so it is possible for the sorcerer to have as many or nearly as many spells and still be able to cast more per day.

In my own gaming I tend to pick sorcerers for magical blasters or take a level in sorcerer to give a character some first level sorcerer/wizard spells or class features that help a concept that isn't really a caster concept.

I am one who believes that over the long term wizards are significantly better than sorcerers.


Norgrim Malgus wrote:

Wizards are intended to be the penultimate arcane magic user because of the lack of restrictions on spell knowledge.

That's my take on it.

penultimate arcane magic user???


artificer wrote:
Norgrim Malgus wrote:

Wizards are intended to be the penultimate arcane magic user because of the lack of restrictions on spell knowledge.

That's my take on it.

penultimate arcane magic user???

Yeah, you know, second-to-last arcane magic user. After the wizard there can only be one.

Silver Crusade

artificer wrote:
Norgrim Malgus wrote:

Wizards are intended to be the penultimate arcane magic user because of the lack of restrictions on spell knowledge.

That's my take on it.

penultimate arcane magic user???

Yea, bad choice of word use on my part. I was trying to say that the Wizard is supposed to be the top dog for arcane magic use.


Norgrim Malgus wrote:
artificer wrote:
Norgrim Malgus wrote:

Wizards are intended to be the penultimate arcane magic user because of the lack of restrictions on spell knowledge.

That's my take on it.

penultimate arcane magic user???
Yea, bad choice of word use on my part. I was trying to say that the Wizard is supposed to be the top dog for arcane magic use.

They would be the ultimate, then. Sorcerers come in as the penultimate.

Both are fun to play, though, so go with whichever floats your boat. Neither class can be ready for anything at low levels. You can't have a spell for every conceivable situation, so pick ones you think will get used fairly often, and call it good.

Andoran

Norgrim Malgus wrote:
artificer wrote:
Norgrim Malgus wrote:

Wizards are intended to be the penultimate arcane magic user because of the lack of restrictions on spell knowledge.

That's my take on it.

penultimate arcane magic user???
Yea, bad choice of word use on my part. I was trying to say that the Wizard is supposed to be the top dog for arcane magic use.

Well, if they ever add an analog to the Ultimate Magus it might be accurate. (For those that don't know, Ultimate Magus was basically Mystic Theurge, but for combining a spontaneous arcane with a prepared arcane instead of combining arcane and divine.) Of course, the Ultimate Magus would be unable to get 9th level spells, but would have a truly massive number of spells below that.


Heh, penultimate means next to last. So the wizard is meant to be terrible? Common misuse of penultimate.

One thing to consider about wizards is with a decent sized starting spell book, and the scribe scroll feat, at first level they can make a couple of scrolls, and the haul from the first adventure they can make a few more and buy more spells for their book. In fact its good practice for wizards to have scrolls of most of their non battle/situational spells.

While sorcerers can just buy scrolls to do this, wizards can just craft them at reduced cost.

Wizards also have the option of taking a bonded object, which gives them an extra spell use. Nearly all wizards should take a specialist school, which gives them an extra spell of their school per day. That means that at first level wizards should have 1(Base)1(ability score)1(school spells) = 3 spells per day. If they bonded item it goes to 4 spells per day. Which is how many a typical sorcerer will have.

Going forward the sorcerer will start having significantly more spells per day, but the wizard will have many more spells in their book. Sorcerers also have the slower spell advancement, at 3 level being unable to cast 2nd level spells will hurt a bit. At 5 its even more painful, as 3 level spells are a major force multiplier. If your campaign ends before level 18 the sorcerer will never know the ultimate power that is 9th level spells.

While this is a thread about lvl 1, my points are really important for understanding the class. Wizards reward planning and using your resources for long term contingencies and planning. Sorcerers gives this up for always being ready to do something (sometimes they have to brute force it rather than have the "perfect" spell).

IMHO wizards surpass sorcerers after they get their first treasure haul and convert it into scrolls. After that they don't look back and laugh at the sorcerer who has to specialize in using only a handful of spells.

Andoran

I run a Pathfinder group at the high school where I work. The student who plays a sorcerer was unpleasantly surprised to learn how difficult it is to add spells to his repetoire.


@notabot: Sorcerors are simple Wizards. :)


artificer wrote:
If I am reading the rules correctly it seems like a first level sorcerer can cast more spells per day that a first level wizard. Won’t that make the sorcerer more powerful at low levels? At some point the wizard catch up or surpass the sorcerer?

Itcan be argued that sorcerers are better at first level but first level is not all low levels.

At third level the sorcerer can cast 5 spells per day, the specialist wizard (because there is really no good reason to not be an specialist) can also cast 5 spell per day but the exceptio that 2 of those spells are second level spells.

Andoran

One advantage of the sorrcerer is in applying metamagic feats. A wizard would need to know in advance that he will want to apply feat "A" to spell "B", while the sorcerer can make the decision if the situation calls for it. The first example that occurs to me is a bound and gagged caster. A sorcerer might be able to cast a Silent Still spell in this predicament.

EDIT: But that is not an issue at level1, is it?

Silver Crusade

More spell flexibility is my main reason for choosing wizard over sorcerer. I like having more options and scrolls are a great way to save spell slots for things you will use more frequently. Just like i usually prefer the fighter class for my melee characters, more options from a faster feat gain.

Andoran

I absolutely agree with Norgrim Malgis here. A wizard will usually specialize to some extent, but a sorcerer must be much more specialized. A wizard might intend to specialize in battlefield control, but could probably be a damage dealer if necessary.

Shadow Lodge

Bah. The ultimate arcane character is the witch. She's a full spellcaster with most of the best spells from the wizard/sorcerer list, and a generous dollop of spells from the cleric list. But she can be a complete badass without ever casting any of them.


notabot wrote:
One thing to consider about wizards is with a decent sized starting spell book, and the scribe scroll feat, at first level they can make a couple of scrolls...

I forgot to mention than I am comparing them from a PFS point of view so I don't get to scribe scrolls. :(


Jeraa wrote:

A 1st level sorcerer with, lets say, a 16 Charisma, can cast 4 1st level spells per day. However, he only knows two different first level spells.

A 1st level wizard with 16 Intelligence can only cast 2 first level spells, but knows 4 different first level spells (3 minimum, +1 from his Intelligence). As a minimum - he could of spent time and money to learn more.

A level 1 specialist wizard with a bonded object and 16 int can cast 4 spells at level 1. Wizards are rad.


Pages of spell knowledge can help the sorcerer with number of spells known, and in PFS play where most of the time you don't really have a lot of advance notice about what spells to prepare for the day, I think the extra spells and casting on the fly worth getting spells a level late. If you are playing a continuous campaign where you have more knowledge of what the day is going to bring and you keep your scribe feat I think I would give the edge to the wizard.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Meh. Half-Elf Sorcerers of 6th lvl and higher are pretty boss, if they know what's coming. Even if they don't, spending an action and spell slot to get literally any spell you want isn't a bad deal, over-all.

EDIT: for the curious, Paragon Surge (the linked spell) grants a +2 to DEX and any one feat. The feat Expanded Arcana lets you learn any one spell of your highest spell level or any two spells of less than your highest spell level.


Yeah, wizards are never really going to have a disadvantage in the spells per day race. As has been previously stated, school specialization and a bonded object get you on par with the sorcerer, but you have much greater flexibility. By level 3, you've got up to 4 second level spells per day. 4. Before the sorc. even gets 1. Every time the wizard gets a new spell level, they'll have that many. Once the sorc gets the same spell level, they are on even footing, except for the wiz's bonded object.

Actually, let's take a look at that 3rd level side-by-side:
Sorc gets 5+bonus 1st level spells.
Wiz gets 2+school+bonus 1st levels AND 1+school+bonus 2nd levels AND 1 of any spell in his book. That's a total of 6 1st level spells for most PFS sorcerers and 4 1st level, 3 2nd level, and 1 of whatever for most PFS wizards. The wizards actually have MORE spells AND better spells than the sorcerers at that point.


Sitri wrote:
Pages of spell knowledge can help the sorcerer with number of spells known, and in PFS play where most of the time you don't really have a lot of advance notice about what spells to prepare for the day, I think the extra spells and casting on the fly worth getting spells a level late. If you are playing a continuous campaign where you have more knowledge of what the day is going to bring and you keep your scribe feat I think I would give the edge to the wizard.

It takes 15 minutes to fill fallow spell slots during the a day.

Andoran

Funky Badger wrote:
Sitri wrote:
Pages of spell knowledge can help the sorcerer with number of spells known, and in PFS play where most of the time you don't really have a lot of advance notice about what spells to prepare for the day, I think the extra spells and casting on the fly worth getting spells a level late. If you are playing a continuous campaign where you have more knowledge of what the day is going to bring and you keep your scribe feat I think I would give the edge to the wizard.
It takes 15 minutes to fill fallow spell slots during the a day.

Unless you have the Fast Study wizard discovery, in which case it can take as little as 1 minute.


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The other big difference between Wizards and Sorcerers is role playing. A Sorcerer is good at social skills, while the Wizard is good at int skills (and has more skills to play with). That's a major factor in which you'd rather play, and it's really up to personal preference.


Kthulhu wrote:
Bah. The ultimate arcane character is the witch. She's a full spellcaster with most of the best spells from the wizard/sorcerer list, and a generous dollop of spells from the cleric list. But she can be a complete badass without ever casting any of them.

Yep. By level 9, you get a ranged save or die for reflex fort and will, plus you can force enemies to roll this save twice.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Norgrim Malgus wrote:
artificer wrote:
Norgrim Malgus wrote:

Wizards are intended to be the penultimate arcane magic user because of the lack of restrictions on spell knowledge.

That's my take on it.

penultimate arcane magic user???
Yea, bad choice of word use on my part. I was trying to say that the Wizard is supposed to be the top dog for arcane magic use.

That's where you're wrong or you're thinking 1st editon where there really was only one arcane class. No arcane class in Pathfinder is supposed to be "top dog" over everyone else. They're all balanced with each other in that each has a particular set of advantages and weaknesses, but they're all worthy additions to an adventuring group.


I prefer sorcerers, and yes, a level 1 sorc is better than a level 1 wizard.


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Sorcerors are wizards for people who prefer playing barbarians.

:-)


CylonDorado wrote:
The other big difference between Wizards and Sorcerers is role playing. A Sorcerer is good at social skills, while the Wizard is good at int skills (and has more skills to play with). That's a major factor in which you'd rather play, and it's really up to personal preference.

+1

I'm in a Kingmaker game, playing a 20-cha sorceress. Theres also a 20-int witch. Guess which one of us is more likely to become Queen? There are many good positions for a high-int character. But forgive the pun-- Charisma Rules!

~~~

Sorcerers don't fear getting their spellbooks or components stolen.

~~~

And don't look at spell lists in a vacuum.

Sorcerers multiclass extemely well with bards, ninjas, monks (empyreal) and other classes with high charisma as a prerequisite.

There aren't a whole lot of classes that have Intelligence as their primary stat. Characters like rogues with one other primary stat may be do-able, but don't have the automatic synergy.

~~~

Also there are slews of playable races that give bonuses to charisma *and* extra spell abilities... gnome, aasimar, dhampir, fetchling, kitsune, ifrit, suli, drow, etc.

There are fewer playable races that give intelligence bonuses and extra spells... sylph, tiefling, samsaran, wayang.

(I left off races like elf and halfling that don't automatically give bonus spells or SLAs)

Point is, in a role-playing game, the starting spell list is only the beginning of the story.


Funky Badger wrote:

Sorcerors are wizards for people who prefer playing barbarians.

:-)

Probably! My first char was a barbarian, and I still like them.

Grand Lodge

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

I kind of view it as the difference between Professor X and Jean Grey.


Sorcerers get Diplomacy, which means they have a much more active secondary role at 1st level, as, let's face it, you're not dealing with mysteries of the universe at first level knowledge checks.


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No spellbook and Eschew Materials means you can travel light. It also comes in handy if you think the GM can't resist stealing spellbooks, bonded items, materials, witch's familiars and so forth.

I mean, if a GM wants to mess with you, he can still find something (kidneys for example), but there's no items you absolutely need to function, sitting around to tempt this GM. And avoiding that temptation is half the battle.

---

Sorcerers strike me a lot as X-Men; weird mutant powers, often with theme. A Verdant sorcerer might appear to be a whole different class from a Draconic.

Wizards are more like scientists, trying to reverse-engineer Sorcerer powers into codified spells. Codified spells tend to need catalysts, since wizards don't get Eschew Materials for free.

I like the idea of sorcerers, but I get panicky urges when I ponder not learning more spells.

---

Anyway, a level 1 wizard casts 3 spells per day, not 2; base 1, int +1, school +1. Compared to 4 for a sorcerer, that's not bad.


Sorcerer is a great NPC class because I can just generate a spells known list and I don't have to deal with the wealth consequences of the PCs gaining yet another overpriced spellbook.

Give a sorcerer a handful of spell scrolls to cover some contigency spells and you have a decent one shot opponent.

For PCs though the inherent flexibility and earlier access to spells for the Wizard is just too much to pass up, plus the Wizard ends up with an insane number of skill points by end game. Yeah the sorcerer is probably a better social monkey but wizard will have skillpoints coming out his ears.

Honestly even with the sorcerer being buffed spontaneous casters tend to lag behind practiced casters unless adding spells as a wizard is really difficult.

Shadow Lodge

LazarX wrote:
I kind of view it as the difference between Professor X and Jean Grey.

Wizards are cripples that have spent more time being obsolete than relevant, and sorcerers spent the majority of their careers being dead?


Wizards beats the pants off sorcerers at low levels. Beyond the sheer exponential power of spellcasting itself, wizards have very front loaded abilities. The arcane bond spell slot or familiar are very powerful at low level as is the ability to swap out cantrips when desired. School specialization abilities tend to be a little better than 1st level bloodline powers (/arcana at low levels). In contrast the sorcerer starts with an entire TWO first level spells known. Over time these benefits fade - the sorcerer will ultimately gain more abilities than a wizard, make significant gains in versatility as they learn more spells and are able to combine them with metamagic. Familiars, while remaining useful, become relatively less so as levels increase.

Shadow Lodge

Witch > Sorcerer or Wizard

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Funky Badger wrote:
Sitri wrote:
Pages of spell knowledge can help the sorcerer with number of spells known, and in PFS play where most of the time you don't really have a lot of advance notice about what spells to prepare for the day, I think the extra spells and casting on the fly worth getting spells a level late. If you are playing a continuous campaign where you have more knowledge of what the day is going to bring and you keep your scribe feat I think I would give the edge to the wizard.
It takes 15 minutes to fill fallow spell slots during the a day.

I can think of a lot of PFS Scenarios where you don't have 15 minutes to screw around once things get going.

Andoran

Schrodinger's Wizard is undefeated.


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ciretose wrote:
Schrodinger's Wizard is undefeated.

Hey, I just met you

And this is crazy
but here's a sealed box
the cat lives, maybe.

Grand Lodge

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

Meh. Half-Elf Sorcerers of 6th lvl and higher are pretty boss, if they know what's coming. Even if they don't, spending an action and spell slot to get literally any spell you want isn't a bad deal, over-all.

EDIT: for the curious, Paragon Surge (the linked spell) grants a +2 to DEX and any one feat. The feat Expanded Arcana lets you learn any one spell of your highest spell level or any two spells of less than your highest spell level.

That's really GM interpretation. Getting instant spell knowledge may be one of the things I might not allow as a DM. It's a question that's been submitted for FAQ, but no answer has come up yet.

Silver Crusade

ciretose wrote:
Schrodinger's Wizard is undefeated.

Forgive my ignorance; what is a Schrodinger's Wizard? I know all about the physicist and his alleged animal cruelty, but what has 'uncertainty' got to do with wizards?

While I'm here, what is a 'god wizard'?

I know what a 'Batman' wizard is!


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Schrodinger's Wizard is undefeated.

Forgive my ignorance; what is a Schrodinger's Wizard? I know all about the physicist and his alleged animal cruelty, but what has 'uncertainty' got to do with wizards?

While I'm here, what is a 'god wizard'?

I know what a 'Batman' wizard is!

Ciretose has a fixation on other people theorycrafting wizards who always have exactly the right spell prepared for any situation. He calls them "Schrodinger's Wizards" because you never know what spells they have memorized until a challenge comes up, and then BANG! just exactly the right spell needed pops out.

Shadow Lodge

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God Wizard: Wizard specialized in battlefield control, via illusion, conjuration, or transmutation, who has the capability to completely dominate combat by directing, cutting off, and/or disabling enemies, preventing them from harming the party and allowing the rest of the PC party to "clean up" after the Wizard has effectively neutered the opposition.

Schrodinger's Wizard: Forum/internet term for the common assumption that the Wizard - who must prepare most or all of his spells at the beginning of the day and potentially a small few empty remaining slots at a 15-minute lull in traveling/adventuring/fighting - will always have the right spell ready and at hand when he needs it, or will always be granted the leeway and time needed to prepare it in an empty slot if he doesn't. Generally assumed that since the wizard CAN know every spell on his list that he DOES, and will always be able to prepare just the one he needs when he needs it despite little to no forewarning.


Orthos, I agree with your definition on Schrodinger's Wizard, but I don't think that battlefield or combat is generally what I've been interpreting "God Wizard" as.

In my memory of discussions involving "God Wizards" the term means that the wizard can do EVERYTHING NEEDED for any role in any party at any time.

Shadow Lodge

I'm only familiar of the term in the optimization sense as coined by Treantmonk, where his God Wizard was the battlefield controller, debuffer, and enemy neutralizer while the rest of the party were "Big Dumb Fighters" or "Glass Cannons" meant to either stand in front of the wizard and eat hits or deal damage after the wizard had neutralized everything.


Orthos wrote:
I'm only familiar of the term in the optimization sense as coined by Treantmonk, where his God Wizard was the battlefield controller, debuffer, and enemy neutralizer while the rest of the party were "Big Dumb Fighters" or "Glass Cannons" meant to either stand in front of the wizard and eat hits or deal damage after the wizard had neutralized everything.

Ah, OK, I guess I'm only familiar with it from usage on these boards, and in those comments it has always seemed to me that "God Wizard" meant that the rest of the party was superfluous. I've seen specific comments about that including things like rogue specialties and even healing (because wizards can summon beings with healing powers).


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Treantmonk's "God Wizard"

In my interpretation, the God wizard uses a lot of battlefield control and summoned creatures to affect the course of the battle. He doesn't so much neutralize everything, as alter the circumstances of the fight so that the party has an easier time of it. For example, he uses Wall and Sleet Storm spells so that enemies are forced to come before the Fighter one by one, so that he can easily finish them off.

When built well, it's actually a very team-oriented kind of wizard; the aim is to create situations where the rest of the party is at its best.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:

Meh. Half-Elf Sorcerers of 6th lvl and higher are pretty boss, if they know what's coming. Even if they don't, spending an action and spell slot to get literally any spell you want isn't a bad deal, over-all.

EDIT: for the curious, Paragon Surge (the linked spell) grants a +2 to DEX and any one feat. The feat Expanded Arcana lets you learn any one spell of your highest spell level or any two spells of less than your highest spell level.

That's really GM interpretation. Getting instant spell knowledge may be one of the things I might not allow as a DM. It's a question that's been submitted for FAQ, but no answer has come up yet.

I mean, sure, it's up to GM interpretation... but so is anything.

As-written it's really straightforward.

Still, some might consider it cheese. That's up to each individual game. I certainly don't, as sorcerers often need all the help they can get.

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