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Please Critique My PFS Solar Sorcerer


Advice


I've been making some adjustments on a Sorcerer build I like, and would love it if someone could look this over for three things: Legality (I want to be sure it's Pathfinder Society legal), General Effectiveness, and Possible Improvements up to a point. Put more simply, I want to be sure it's table legal and is a character people would be comfortable having at the table when TPKs can be on the line.

Admittedly, the character's theme narrows my selections somewhat; they won't use Evil spells and such, even if it is PFS legal.

That said, here's what I have.

The Basics
Human, NG Align, Sarenrae is their Deity.
Sorcerer 11, no Archetypes (none fit the concept). Solar Bloodline.
Str 7
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 12
Wis 12
Cha 18 (as 16 + 2 Human bonus)

+1 to Cha at L4, and +1 to Cha at L8.
Languages: Common, Celestial

Skills: Focusing on Perception, Know/Arcana, Spellcraft, and Use Magic Device (the latter mostly to enable CLW Wand usage). Occasional points tossed into Diplomacy, Intimidate, Bluff, Know Planes, and Know Religion where possible.

At a Glance: A Sorc meant to help the party with a mix of blasting, control, and occasional defense-improvement spells. Very openly Good-aligned, wields lots of Light themed spells and tends to use Merciful Spell on their larger blasts.

Racial Feature Substitutions: None, but am open to ideas.

Favored Class Option: A new spell, every single time. I won't list them here, for brevity.

Class Feature Substitutions: At third level, replace Friend of Fire with Blood Intensity.

Traits:
Illuminator (+2 Diplomacy, becomes Class Skill)
Reactionary (+2 Init)

Feats: Am open to suggestions, but here's what I have so far.
1: Eschew Materials (Class granted), Merciful Spell (L1 Base feat), Steadfast Personality (Human Bonus)
3: Improved Initiative
5: Spell Penetration
7: Greater Spell Penetration (L7 base) and Empower Spell (L7 Sorc Bonus Feat)
9: Additional Traits (Magaambyan Arcana to pick up the Healing Flames spell, and Magical Lineage: Burst of Radiance)
11: Spontaneous Metafocus for Burst of Radiance, or better idea if you have one.

Bonus Spells: As per standard Solar bloodline progression. No substitutions or alterations to rate of acquisition.

Faction: Silver Crusade

Spells: This list is incomplete, as Pages of Spell Knowledge might be used to fill in gaps as needed. Remember that human bonus spell options were used to get more spells than is normally possible.

L0/Cantrips: Acid Splash, Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Grasp, Open/Close, Mending, Prestidigitation, Ray of Frost, Read Magic, Spark, Message, Mage Hand

L1: Burning Hands, Celestial Healing (mostly for theme purposes), Grease, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Obscuring Mist, Protection from Evil, Searing Light (Bloodline Bonus)

Pages of Spell Knowledge will likely be used to pick up Shield, Vanish, Ear-Piercing Scream, possibly Snowball (despite the recent nerf), and maybe Feather Fall (though a Ring of this is probably smarter).

L2: Gust of Wind, Burning Arc, Burst of Radiance, Create Pit, Fury of the Sun (Bloodline Bonus), Glitterdust, Mirror Image, Admonishing Ray.

Pages of Spell Knowledge might be used to grab Resist Energy, Stone Call, Scorching Ray, False Life, and possibly Fog Cloud.

L3: Daylight (Bloodline Bonus), Dispel Magic, Fireball, Fly, Force Punch, Haste, Sleet Storm

If I somehow have money left over, Pages of Spell Knowledge might cover Magic Circle Against Evil, and Conjure Carriage.

L4: Dimension Door, Emergency Force Sphere, Healing Flames (via Trait), Resilient Sphere, Shield of the Dawnflower (Bloodline Bonus), Wall of Ice.

L5: Flame Strike (Bloodline Bonus), Gravity Sphere, Wall of Force.

L6 if Character Level 12 is ever obtained: Chains of Light

And that's what I've got. Feedback is welcome (if you know something that would be even better with this 'openly holy-aligned blaster' concept, I want to know about it), and thank you for looking this over!

Grand Lodge

Looks pretty good to me, my only gripe is dumping Str to 7...you will have to be super careful with your gear loadout to not end up encumbered all the time. Other than that, looks like a perfectly serviceable sorcerer to me.


Thanks for chiming in, Slyme! That one's unavoidable. I can go Str 8, Wis 10, but this only frees up 3 pounds of carrying capacity. (Str 7 does admittedly also risk being killed more easily by Shadows, but only so much I can do for that.)

The character will be Encumbered and is just going to have to drop their backpack as a free action at the start of any fights in order to revert to a Light Load. I don't see any way around it until a Handy Haversack is purchased.

Any further increases to Str gut something important though, so I'm loathe to do that. It's basically 'is Str 8 Wis 10 better, or is Str 7 Wis 12 better'. +3 Carrying Capacity and a bit more endurance against Str Drain, versus +1 Perception (and Will saves vs. non-mind-affecting things, I suppose). It's a tough call to make.

Grand Lodge

It is a tough balancing act for sure. I myself try to never go below a 10 Str unless I am playing a small race, where all my gear is half the weight (Halflings and Gnomes both make great sorcerers).

At least you don't really have to worry about the weight of weapons and armor, which really helps...if you were playing something like a rogue, even leather armor and a light weapon would put you into moderate encumbrance.

On thing of note...Why the diplomacy trait if you aren't going to focus on putting a rank per level into it? Feels a bit wasted to me, unless you just want it for flavor. You could put swap that into something like a bonus to your weak saving throw, or bonus to concentration checks.


The favored class bonus for levels 1-3 isn't worth much. The FCB to learn more spells is 1 level behind the highest spell you can cast. And you cannot cast a level 2 spell until you are level 4. In short, the FCB for levels 1-3 is just a cantrip.

Also, if you really want to be good at both Perception and Diplomacy, I would take the feat Cosmopolitan (and perhaps drop Illuminator in favor of something else).


Sorry for the slow replies, been busy!

Slyme: It's going to be getting ranks most levels. There will be a time or two where it doesn't, but most of the time it will. Diplomacy is going to see a lot of use on this build.

As for Str 10... yeah, I'd like it, but I'm juggling too many things as it is. I reverted to Str 8 Wis 10 for the time being to help alleviate this a little. Getting it up to Str 10 however requires dropping Dex (no) or Con (definitely no).

Ended up swapping the Metafocus feat out for just Spell Focus Evocation unless someone has a better idea for a Level 11 feat.

JoeElf: That's a great feat, but I can't fit it in until level 11 by which time it becomes kinda pointless. The Solar bloodline grants Perception as a class skill in any event.

Thank you both for your thoughts, it looks like the basic build is good and only needs minor polishing on the fine details.

Liberty's Edge

Instead of the 1st level spell Grease, why not take Arcane Pocket? It'll turn any pocket, Bag, etc into extradimensional storage space with a capacity of 10LB's per level for one hour per level, the spell also is better than the bag of holding in respect to sharp objects won't destroy it. It'll solve your carry capacity issue with a STR of 7, spell can be found in the Black Market book. 1st level sor/wiz spell of Conjuration.


Michael: That's a neat spell! As for why not use it... well, at early levels, having just Magic Missile available would really sting. The party deserves to have some Control options around in addition to Blasting.

By the time this would no longer be the case, the Handy Haversack is available and solves the problem outright.

Neat spell though, may have to think about other uses for it...

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'd change;
Illuminator to Cosmopolitan (JoeElf) or Magical Lineage
Feats to;
1) ... Point Blank shot or Weapon Finesse (for Steadfast Personality)
3) Spell Focus (school)
5) Varisian Tattoo (school)
7) Empower Spell, Spell Specialization (school)
9) ...

Gain 3 HPs using fvd class lvl 1-3

Spell list (* swap at higher level):
0)...
1)(7) Color Spray*, Burning Hands, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Liberating Command, Shield, Shocking Grasp, Searing Light (Bloodline Bonus)
PoSK: Sure Casting, Grease. later-Vanish.
2)(7) Blur, Burning Arc, Burst of Radiance, Fury of the Sun (Bloodline Bonus), Glitterdust, Mirror Image, Scorching Ray.
PoSK: Bear Endur(CON).
3)(7) Ablative Barrier, Displacement, Daylight (Bloodline Bonus), Fireball, Fly, Force Punch, Haste.
...

Liberty's Edge

RickDias wrote:

Michael: That's a neat spell! As for why not use it... well, at early levels, having just Magic Missile available would really sting. The party deserves to have some Control options around in addition to Blasting.

By the time this would no longer be the case, the Handy Haversack is available and solves the problem outright.

Neat spell though, may have to think about other uses for it...

that's true early levels it would. I was revering to later on at higher levels but another option because it is a 1 level spell, buying scrolls of it would be helpful for Emergencies

Dark Archive

Everything seems shipshape, so I've only a few comments to make.

Ability Scores:
I personally prefer to maximize the casting stats of full arcane casters. Having high spell DCs is important.
Don't be afraid of dumping Strength. If you aren't lugging around weapons and armor it should be easy to avoid carrying capacity limits and spells like mage armor and mirror images should make you an unappetizing target for shadows.

Spells:
Phantom Steed (3rd) - If you want to use full-round actions to cast metamagic spells I would reccomend using a mount, and at high levels this becomes one of the best.

Items:
Circlet of Persuation - It can be worn in addition to a headband. It may grant a +3 on concentration checks depending on table variation.
Wand of Mage Armor - Its not as good as casting mage armor yourself, but if you have prestige points to burn its probably worth the extra spell known, especially at low levels.

Feats:
Noble Scion (War) - Something to be aware of, especially if you want to start with higher Charisma.


Telekinetic Charge is one of my favorite spells and plays nicely with others.
Raiment of Command is thematic and ridiculously good (though requires a book you might not have).

Liberty's Edge

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

@Tim - I didn't realize that mage armor works against shadow's touch attacks, thanks for mentioning it!

@Ring_of_Gyges - +1 for telekinetic charge. In our RotRL campaign, my son's wizard and his friend's monk have a great time teaming up with that spell.


I would take arcane pocket then retrain it later on. Magic missile is a nice spell but I dislike it until you get multiple missiles.

Spell focus should be moved up much earlier. Probably by delaying spell pen. Spell focus is useful through all levels while pen takes longer before its needed. Mages tattoo/spell specialization should definitely be considered as they both help damage and get through spell res


Hey everyone, thanks for your ideas! I may not have used all of them, but I looked over each one. Below is my revised build, which I think is significantly better and accounts for a lot of advice given in this thread! I'll offer specific replies below that.

Concept at a Glance: Sorcerer with a heavy 'holy spellcaster' theme, uses mostly Blasting spells with a mix of some control, debuff, defense enhancement, and even a bit of healing. Likes using Merciful Spell.

Basics
NG Align Human Sorcerer (Solar Bloodline) 11, no Archetypes.
Deity: Sarenrae.
Str 7
Dex 12
Con 14
Int 14
Wis 10
Cha 18 (as 16 + 2 Human)

+1 to Cha at Level 4 and +1 to Cha at Level 8.

Languages: Common, Celestial, human regional language (whichever one that may be; I forget if PFS allows this in any event) and Draconic (am open to suggestions on a non-Draconic language, but Draconic looks pretty good to me)

Skills: Focusing on Perception, Know/Arcana, Spellcraft, Use Magic Device, and filling out the 5th skill point with various other Knowledges, Cha skills, and so on at each level.

Racial Feature Substitutions: None

Favored Class: Sorcerer, Solar. L1-3 options: +1 HP. L4 and onward: New spells.

Class Feature Substitutions: Sorcerer 3 bloodline power (Friend of Fire) is replaced by Blood Intensity.

Traits:
Reactionary (+2 Init)
Magical Lineage: Burst of Radiance

Feats:
1: Eschew Materials (class automatic), Noble Scion (War) (human bonus), Merciful Spell (L1 base feat)
3: Steadfast Personality
5: Spell Focus Evocation
7: Spell Specialization (set to Fireball and I see no reason to switch it off Fireball)
9: Spell Penetration
11: Greater Spell Penetration

Bonus Spells: As per normal Solar.

Faction: Silver Crusade

Spells:

L0/Cantrip: Acid Splash, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Mage Hand, Prestidigitation, Ray of Frost, Read Magic, Spark

L1: Burning Hands, Celestial Healing*, Grease, Magic Missile, Obscuring Mist, Protection from Evil, Searing Light (Bloodline Bonus)
*: This spell is sub-optimal but is being picked for flavor/theme reasons.
Pages of Spell Knowledge add: Vanish, Shield, Ear-Piercing Scream, Snowball (I'm aware of its nerf. Still want it)

L2: Gust of Wind, Burning Arc, Burst of Radiance, Create Pit, Fury of the Sun* (Bloodline bonus), Glitterdust, Mirror Image, Admonishing Ray
Pages of Spell Knowledge add: Scorching Ray, Resist Energy, Stone Call, False Life, possibly Fog Cloud.
*: I welcome commentary from anyone who has experience using Fury of the Sun. Is it any good?

L3: Daylight (Bloodline Bonus), Dispel Magic, Fireball, Fly, Force Punch, Haste, Sleet Storm.
Pages of Spell Knowledge might add: Magic Circle Against Evil, Conjure Carriage, possibly Ablative Barrier.

L4: Confusion, Dimension Door, Emergency Force Sphere, Resilient Sphere, Shield of the Dawnflower (Bloodline Bonus), Wall of Ice

L5: Flame Strike (Bloodline Bonus), Hold Monster, Wall of Force

L6 (Only if Level 12 is ever obtained): Chains of Light*
*: Likely retrain Hold Monster into sometihng else if I do this. Perhaps Overland Flight.

That's the build. Some quick responses to individual ideas...

I swapped out a few spells so my character had a way of targeting Fort and Will saves too, instead of just Reflex. Confusion and Hold Monster are the most obvious examples, but I'm open to suggestions on other Fort/Will targeting spells too! Any thoughts?

JoeElf, regarding +1 HP on levels 1-3: You're right. I can get scrolls of the needed spells if I'm really after them. I worry about losing Grasp. Might go ahead and take Grasp, then just get +2 HP instead of +3. Any commentary on this? Grasp seems like a good way to prevent a first level character from dying on a botched Climb roll.

Michael, regarding Arcane Pocket: In the end, I'll just get a scroll or two of this if needed. It was a good idea, but I think I can get by on Str 7.

Azothath, on Cosmopolitan: I think you've confused the same-named Feat and Trait. The Cosmopolitan trait is kind of bad. The feat is great, but I cannot fit it into my build.

Azothath, on Spell Specialization: Great idea! I was able to fit this in once I used Noble Scion instead of Improved Initiative (it freed up enough space in the build to lower Dex, raise Int). The damage gains are impressive; a level 11 Sorc with this build slams out 13d6+13 * 1.5 Nonlethal damage on a Merciful Empower Blood Intensity Fireball (average 87.75 damage, before Saves)! I can use Burst of Radiance and Admonishing Ray as my backup options, or target other aspects of the character, if Fireball won't work on them. I didn't use the Tattoo idea as it didn't fit my character's aesthetic, but this is still a huge jump in damage output!

Tim: Your idea for Noble Scion (War) made a tremendous improvement to this build. I'll toss the Circlet onto the shopping list too, since it'll help with social skills. since I took a hit to them in this rebuild.

Ring of Gyges: Telekinetic Charge just barely missed out on my spell selection. It was competing with Confusion. Granting effectively Pounce to a martial ally is neat, though.

Dastis: I like Arcane Pocket, but I think the dislike of Magic Missile early-game is ill-founded. Against early-game foes, 1d4+1 is meaningful damage. I do however agree with the rest of your advice, and rebuilt my feat list accordingly.

This version of the character looks a LOT more fun. Thank you, everyone!


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you are going to blast, Empower or Intensify Metamagic Feats are likely better than what you have going. Lower level spells enhanced with Meta deal more damage than higher level spells, as a general rule.
Also, are Bloodline Mutations available for you? If so, replace your 1st bloodline arcana with Blood Havoc. Every die you roll for damage gets a +1. It can add up...especially with Meta feats added.
EDIT: and it is NOT PFS legal, too bad.

Absolute favorite Bloodline for Sorcerer. Other than level one, I love the Arcana and then some of the bonus bloodline spells? Searing Light as a 1st level spell?! No one else can get that! One of the best ray spells ever and you can cast it at 3rd level!


If you are concerned about carrying capacity then Ant Haul is a 1st level spell.

Spells I think you should consider:

Level 1 (uses pages): Liberating Command, Shield, Feather Fall, Silent Image

Level 2: See Invisibility (you need to be able to target glitterdust)

Level 3: Heroism (great buff, you will use this all the time), Communal resist Energy (your party will thank you)

Level 4: I prefer fear to confusion, confusion often just bogs things down, fear disarms your enemies and makes them provoke from your melee

Level 5: Overland flight before anything else. Long duration flight is a game changer, it renders you largely immune to most melee threats and bypasses any number of different obstacles.


Fourshadow: Oops. Empower IS in the build, I just forgot to write it down here! It would fit the Level 7 Bonus Feat slot. Blood Intensity is also picked up, so I've bot both in a limited fashion.

I like Solar too. It's what I wanted Celestial to be all along! I just wish it kept the wings, but that's okay... because I suppose Overland Flight could be fluffed as temporarily gaining wings.

Andreww: Good list. I'm not worried about carrying capacity enough to get Ant Haul, though.

Your Level 1 list mostly makes sense to me aside from Liberating Command. Can you explain a little more as to why you're recommending it? EDIT: I mean, it's obviously good but it overlaps functionality with Grease. I need more info here to see why that double-dip is worth it.

Level 2 list, I disagree. A roughly DC 20 Perception is needed to find their square if they're invisible, and DC 20 is do-able for a character. Worst case, I pick up See Invis if it proves to be a problem not having it...

Heroism is nice, but I suspect Haste is better. Communal Resist Energy I will think about.

Fear's range is too low for me to really consuder using it as a ainstay fighting ability.

Overland Flight I agree with but this change means I ditch Hold Monster and have no obvious replacement. I need some other Fort or Will Save for this to work.

Thanks for the thoughts, both of you!

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