Sorcerer Dead Levels


Races & Classes


Dead levels have been effectively worked out of every class but the cleric and the sorcerer. Now by popular opinion the cleric class is generally considered the most powerful class in the game so a few dead levels probably isn't too much of a concern there. However, the sorcerer class has three levels (5th, 11th, and 17th) where it doesn't even grant access to a new spell level. Could this be rectified somehow? I believe the simplest way would be to simply grant them a bonus metamagic feat at these levels. A more complicated way would be to include minor bloodline abilities at these levels.

I just can't help by wonder why they fixed the dead levels of every class but these two. The cleric admittedly doesn't need much help, but the sorcerer kind of gimps around as the red-headed step-brother of the wizard.

Shadow Lodge

I've never understood people's obsession with 'dead levels' as if players can't handle the idea of progressive improvement without some new class bell of whistle at ever level.

The sorcerer is significantly improved over core. Maybe not quite up there with Wizard and Cleric but much better than previous.

Actually I just looked and the Sorcerer gets class bonus spells at 5th, 11th, and 17th levels... maybe not what you are looking at but not entirely "dead" either.

-- Dennis


Casters don't have dead levels, they get new spells and more spell slots per every level. It's not like a Fighter who literally gets hitpoints and skills and BAB on some levels.

Sorcerers especially get more every level as they gain more spells known constantly.


Kaisoku wrote:

Casters don't have dead levels, they get new spells and more spell slots per every level. It's not like a Fighter who literally gets hitpoints and skills and BAB on some levels.

Sorcerers especially get more every level as they gain more spells known constantly.

What you say about the fighter is true, but what you are missing is that caster level progression for a sorcerer is analogous to base attack and hit point progression for a fighter. If a fighter can get his base attack and hit points from another class PLUS get additional class features, what is to stop him from doing so?

Sorcerers can get that same stuff from a prestige class, so why not? Granted there is more to encourage sticking with the sorcerer class in Pathfinder, but I'm not sure that it is enough. Giving the class an exciting new ability each level (even if that ability isn't that effective in battle or solving problems) keeps the class interesting enough to hold a player's attention captive from level to level. I've never seen metamagic feats get much use, and when they do, they are rarely superior options to spells of their level anyway. Maximized magic missile is only better than ice storm if you are fighting one opponent, but that isn't always the case. Quickened fireball doesn't exactly trump delayed blast fireball either, especially considering that it contributes to rapidly depleting your spell repertoire for the day.

I don't think giving sorcerers a few more metamagic feats gives them a significant boost to the power curve, but it does give players something to Ooo and Ahh over when they would otherwise be making fairly mundane choices that they make every level anyway.


Since you apparently have some issue with the Sorcerer the way it is now, even though it really has no dead levels, just add some spell-secret-like abilities (from Wu Jen).


I think that if the Sorcerer where to get two more Bonus feats, it would go a long way to fix the dead levels.


I agree with the Professor.

Shadow Lodge

The Professor wrote:
I think that if the Sorcerer where to get two more Bonus feats, it would go a long way to fix the dead levels.

There are no dead levels.

Sorcerer gains new abilities or bonus spells at every single level, in addition the increase spells known at every level. If you want to talk about sorcerer being underpowered compared to wiz... that's fine, make a case. But they aren't dead levels.

5th - +2 spells known (a 50% increase) plus Bloodline bonus spell
11th - +4 addnl spells known (a 25% increase) plus bloodline bonus spell
17th - +4 addnl spells known (a 25% increase) plus bloodline bonus spell

Post Alpha 3, there is no other caster class that got near the power bump the sorcerer did. The bonus spells plus bloodline powers are a big bump. Have you actually play tested this or are you just looking at an apparent hole and saying it needs to be filled?

-- Dennis


0gre wrote:
The Professor wrote:
I think that if the Sorcerer where to get two more Bonus feats, it would go a long way to fix the dead levels.

There are no dead levels.

Sorcerer gains new abilities or bonus spells at every single level, in addition the increase spells known at every level. If you want to talk about sorcerer being underpowered compared to wiz... that's fine, make a case. But they aren't dead levels.

To me, a "dead level" in class X means "Why should I take a level in class X versus a prestige class?"

By this definition, levels 5, 11, and 17 aren't quite dead levels for a sorcerer (since a level in the sorcerer gives a bonus spell known).


I guess technically, they aren't completely dead. But one bonus spell to me is like the cleric getting to turn undead as if he were one level higher. It's like a consolation prize and not that much of an incentive to stick with a class IMHO. Now there are few prestige classes you can enter before 6th, but giving that they don't even get a new spell level at 5th like wizards do, a lot of sorcerers might be tempted to multiclass. I have a sorcerer in my PRPG alpha 3 game and he isn't sure that 5th level is worth it. I don't know if he feels like ditching spellcasting, but he wishes there were something more, and I can see his point.


Here's a possible solution: make the effective caster level and/or save DC when casting a bloodline spell +1 or more higher than normal (+cha bonus perhaps?). The bonus spell becomes more attractive.

Shadow Lodge

Man this board is eating messages like mad today.

Cleric has "dead" levels as you describe them at 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th. Wizards has "dead" levels at 2nd, 4th, 6th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th. The Wizard "School Powers" at these levels are actually worth LESS than additional spells per day since they are inflexible and have CHA based save DCs. Druids are the only caster with no "dead" levels mostly because the wild shape ability.

Primary casters don't have the issues with Dead Levels that other classes have. Their power grows pretty much in a curve. If your player is whining about a single "dead" level let him PrC and lose out on all of the Bloodline goodies.

-- Dennis


My only gripe with the Sorcerer is the fact that they have to 'pause' to cast metamagic. (I've always thought that was ridiculous)

I think 3 'dead' levels that aren't really 'dead' is a minor point. Pathfinder in my opinion has made the Sorcerer MUCH more viable, bloodlines were one of the major selling points to PF for me. (That, clerics and Fighters.. )


Personally, if I have players who can't delay their need for instant gratification for one level to get better stuff later on, there's no need to worry about it: they're almost certainly going to get their characters killed due to impatience anyway.

If you must have something new and exotic for each XP, switch to Champions - or to Eclipse: The Codex Persona, which is basically Champions for d20. Those sorts of systems still call for saving up for major purchases, but if you'd rather have a constant stream of minor ones, it's certainly allowed.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kain The Seeker wrote:

My only gripe with the Sorcerer is the fact that they have to 'pause' to cast metamagic. (I've always thought that was ridiculous)

My gripe with the Wizard is that they have to prepare each spell metamagic or not, in advance instead of being able to call upon thier vast knowledge on demand.

You at least can choose when to use your metamagic on the fly. Some nasty put a silence on you? Pity the poor wizard who didn't prep any of his spells silence while you just go ahead and whip out that silent spell metamagic and start banging them out.

Think in perspective.


LazarX wrote:
Think in perspective.

Lets see, in perspective, wizards have to prepare quickened spells in advance, sorcerers can't cast quickened spells... Who wins here?

Also, in perspective, considering wizards are 1 level ahead of sorcerers in spell advancement, the wizard has extra power to burn silencing a few spells and still be equal or higher to the sorcerer in power.

I wouldn't mind seeing wizards being able to burn a higher level spell to cast a metamagic version of a lower spell on the fly. So to cast quickened invisibility he would have to burn a 6th level spell plus invisibility. Or he could just memorize the quickened version.

I've also heard quicken is fixed in the beta, personally I can deal with the rest of the spells being full round actions.

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