Sorcerer spell level


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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The problem I have seen isn't that you can't get your worse save up to over 50% and generally keep it there through out a game -- it's that the differences between the best and the worse is so pronounced and so easy to upset.

If you have casters with the best save DCs possible (in core) and have the best supplements to your save throw bonuses possible (in core) then and you maintain those across all levels they will stay even.

The problem comes in when most people in the party have done so and that one character hasn't or visa versa (when only one person in the party has done so and no one else in the party has).


A good save bonus is level/2+2+stat; an SLA DC is level/2+10+stat. So assuming equal stats and no buffs, the chance of saving is 65%. A full caster's highest-level spell DCs are the same as an SLA, plus or minus 1.

A bad save is level/3+stat, so the chance of saving is some 55% at 1st level down to 35% at 20th, again assuming equal stats.

Now obviously stats will vary, and most casters will have higher relevant stats than the defender, especially on poor saves. Conversely, it's a bit harder to buff the DC than to buff a save. But I digress.


Blodox wrote:

I can't remember where I read it, but I remember somewhere about adding spells know level earlier. Basically just shifting the spell know table up one level. It would then look like this...

** spoiler omitted **

If you think it's maybe too much to just do it, what if it was the Bloodlike Arcana for the warped arcane bloodline or something.

It is a myth that sorcerers have more spells than wizards. At all but the lowest and highest, they have fewer spells per day than wizards due to wizards having earlier access to those spells.

This coupled with the fact wizards can use pearls of power and craft them and sorcerers cannot only drives the difference home even further, and allows the wizard to be a pseudo-spontaneous caster.

Finally a wizard's spell versatility allows him to craft a wide variety of supplementary scrolls, potions, wands, and so forth for an extra edge when dealing with utility issues. Utility being one of the biggest problems that sorcerers encounter due to having few skill points, no Int synergy, and their very limited spells known means either you pick combat spells or you die.


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In my homebrew games, sorcerers get spells at an advanced rate and bloodline spells are available immediately upon gaining the ability to cast them (which means you don't get your themed spells late, because that's just stupid). It also means that each new spell level that the sorcerer gains, you have 2 spells known immediately.

I also allow an option for a "domain sorcerer" which replaces the bloodline and all its benefits with 2 cleric domains. The domain spells are added to your spells known and you get the associated domain powers (keyed off Cha instead of Wis).

This also allows sorcerers to fill odd niches where they have spells that are not usually available to wizards because they are on domains (which creates some interesting theme options for those sorcerers, as well as allowing them new tactical considerations).

Their spell progression and spells known in my campaigns are as follows:
Sorcerer Changes.

The domain sorcerer option also makes them infinitely more convenient for a GM, as you can create basic sorcerer statblocks sans domains and then pick 2 domains and apply them to the statblock on the fly (kind of like simple templates) to finish them. Saves tons of time.


On a side note, the core sorcerer's chart is messed up because of their wonky spell progression. They jump from 4 to 6, where they should go from 4 to 5, because due to their delayed progression they had to jury-rig it to give them the correct number of spells per day at 20th level.


Ashiel wrote:
On a side note, the core sorcerer's chart is messed up because of their wonky spell progression. They jump from 4 to 6, where they should go from 4 to 5, because due to their delayed progression they had to jury-rig it to give them the correct number of spells per day at 20th level.

Yeah, this kind of thing bugs me. I'm like that neurotic tv Monk guy; "Just...someone...it'll only take a sec...oh for chrissake...just FIX IT!"

And I'm only kind of kidding. :)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mudfoot wrote:
I have introduced the above suggestion (that the bloodline spell is gained 1 level earlier). The minor issue here is that it makes levels 5, 11 and 17 almost utterly dead (no BAB or save boost, 1 extra spell/day, no class features except a couple of new spells known). So at those levels, the sorcerer gains a +2 bonus in the bloodline bonus skill. After all, with 2 skill points and Int as a dump stat, most bloodline skills (usually knowledges) really need the help.

That mean that with your houserule the sorcerer get 2 benefits:

- get to know his bloodline spells 1 level earlier
- get extra skill bonuses.

"I give you a boost, so I need to give you another boost to balance that" seem a bit absurd.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
aceDiamond wrote:
Seems like sorcerers get a lot of tough calls, now that I look over things. After adding bonus spells from high attributes, they don't have very many more slots than wizards. Plus, everything is much more expensive. A scroll and the materials to copy a spell into a spellbooks are a drop in the bucket compared to a Page of Spell Knowledge, so you've got it much harder to gain new spells. A Runestone of Power is twice as expensive as a Pearl of Power, so wizards close the slot gap easier as well. And I'm still going to harp about level delay in spells because WHY?!

Using Runestone of power is a no action, it is part of the spellcasting and it can fuel any spell of that level.

Using a Pearl of power is a standard action and you can recover only a cast spell.

Standard action vs No action is worth "only" a x2 increase in cost? Taken, I will buy a free action Pearl of power immediately.

PRD wrote:

Mnemonic Vestment

Price 5,000 gp; Aura strong transmutation; CL 17th; Weight 1 lb.

The surface of this delicate-looking blue silk robe is adorned with tiny embossed runes across its entire surface. If the wearer is a spontaneous caster, once per day she may use a spell slot to cast a spell from a written source (such as a scroll or spellbook) as if she knew that spell. The spell must be on her spell list, the same spell level or lower than the expended spell slot, and the same type of spell (arcane or divine) as the spell slot expended. The caster must also understand the written source (such as using Decipher Script or read magic) and be carrying it. Activating the robe is not an action, but casting the spell otherwise works as normal, including casting time, providing components or foci, and so on. Using a mnemonic vestment's properties does not consume the written source.

In practice, the same thing of the Arcane bond of a wizard for 5.000 gp.

"I can cast any spell for which I have a written source, included looted wizard books."

And for another 5.000 gp the sorcerer can have another vest to don after he has used the first one power for the day.

There are so many ways to add spells to a sorcerer list that it isn't even funny.
The idea of getting 2 know spells instead of one when you get to use a new level of spells, with one of them being your bloodline spell, isn't a bad suggestion, but from there to saying "Poor sorcerer, how hard is his life." there is a great distance.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ashiel wrote:


This coupled with the fact wizards can use pearls of power and craft them and sorcerers cannot only drives the difference home even further, and allows the wizard to be a pseudo-spontaneous caster.

Sorcerer can have and craft runestones of power. so what is the difference?


Diego Rossi wrote:
Ashiel wrote:


This coupled with the fact wizards can use pearls of power and craft them and sorcerers cannot only drives the difference home even further, and allows the wizard to be a pseudo-spontaneous caster.

Sorcerer can have and craft runestones of power. so what is the difference?

1. Runestones of power are from the Pathfinder Society Guide, which makes them less likely to be allowed or even known about for many people, compared to items available in the core rulebook.

2. Runestones of power cost twice as much as a pearl of power of equal level, so a wizard can get twice as many pearls for the same investment, which also means that the wizard also has earlier access to them (they become viable for your budget earlier), and has easier access to them (you can purchase up to 4th level pearls of power using the core purchase limits easily, but only up to 2nd level runestones).

These are two very real reasons why I don't consider Runestones of Power to be particularly special. Especially since sorcerers don't receive as much benefit from them as prepared casters do from pearls.

Cost Efficiency
A 3rd level specialist wizard who crafts 2 1st level pearls of power spends 1,000 gp has 3+2 1st level spells and 2 2nd level spells (before bonus spells, which in all likelyhood brings it to 4+2 and 3). Assuming that the sorcerer also takes Craft Wondrous Item and crafts his own, he gets +1 1st level spell.

Our result is our wizard has 4+2 and 3 spells, while our sorcerer has 6+1 1st level spells. Our wizard is actually doing better than our sorcerer because he has 2 more spells per day (which are also more powerful spells).

Additional Benefits
Our wizard also benefits more from the pearls because...
At 3rd level, our wizard knows at least 4 1st level spells (I say at least because wizards start with a bunch of extra spells, but as a general rule you get 2/level, so I'm going with that for simplicity), while our sorcerer knows 3 1st level spells. Normally the wizard due to having to prepare spells has to estimate which spells will be needed during the day, which means that combat spells are prioritized heavily (in much the same way sorcerers are forced to favor combat spells), and you need to pick the spells that are the most likely to function in the largest number of scenarios (again, sorcerers deal with this every level).

Almost Spontaneous
However, the pearls turn our wizard into a pseudo-spontaneous caster. Our wizard can now prepare 4 different 1st level spells and has 2 spells floating. That means he can prepare mage armor, shield, magic missile, and colorspray, and if he burns a magic missile early in the day and then comes across a shadow, he can cast up to 2 more magic missiles. In essence, his prepared spells become spell+X, where X is the remaining pearls.

WBL and Pearls/Stones
Now let's look at what we can do with WBL. Assuming that our wizard and sorcerer both decide that weapons are for meatshields and decide their weapons are their spells, they decide to invest 50% of their total WBL into pearls / runestones.

Starting from 3rd level when we can craft our own.
3rd (1,500 gp) Purchased: 1 pearl / 0 stones; Crafted 3 pearls / 1 stone (1st level spells)
4th (3,000 gp) Purchased: 3 pearls / 1 stone; Crafted 6 pearls / 2 stones (1st level spells)
5th (5,250 gp) Purchased: 1 pearl / 0 stones; Crafted 2 pearls / 1 stone (2nd level spells)
6th (8,000 gp) Purchased: 2 pearls / 1 stone; Crafted 4 pearls / 2 stones (2nd level spells)
7th (11,750 gp) Purchased: 1 pearl / 0 stones*; Crafted 2 Pearls / 1 stone (3rd level spells)
8th (16,500 gp) Purchased: 1 pearl / 0 stones*; Crafted 3 Pearls / 1 Pearl (3rd level spells)
9th (23,000 gp) Purchased: 1 pearl / 0 stones*; Crafted 2 Pearls / 1 stone (4th level spells)
10th (31,000 gp) Purchased: 1 pearl / 0 stones*; Crafted 3 Pearls / 1 stone (4th level spells)

* Notes: You cannot actually purchase stones of 3rd level and higher without them being randomly generated according to the core rules, which means unless you're using some splat material, you're not getting these.

Further, in many of these cases, I rounded to the actual maximum you can purchase in full increments of 1/2 your WBL for a given level. However, it most cases you could mathematically squeeze out an extra pearl if you exceeded your WBL by a few % more.

This also assumes that you're trying to keep the extra spells to your 2nd highest spells. You can go nuts with your spells per day if you're making the most of arcane free-scaling (the classic core vs psionics thing) and milk your stronger and stronger lower-level spells for more.

For example, magic missile is an average of 7 damage at 3rd level but 25 damage at 9th level. At 3rd level, you can have 3 pearls crafted, but at 9th level you could have up to 43 pearls crafted. In a similar vein, many 3rd level spells remain highly useful right through higher levels, such as haste, fly, greater magic weapon, dispel magic, heroism, phantom steed, and ray of exhaustion.


Further, the greater cost of runestones make them far less likely to be found as treasure. You cannot reasonably fit runestones into the WBL of NPCs or monsters until the level of those enemies has far exceeded the point where they would have been really useful.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Ashiel, Ruenstones are better for some use. No action to use is worth x2 the price.

I am currently playing a magus, so I have pearls of powers and arcane points that work very much like the runestones as I can recharge my spell spending a swift action instead of a standard action.
I can assure you that there is a large difference between firing spells like an MG, where you cast and recharge in the same turn and using them as a single shooter, where you cast the spell and then have to spend an action to recharge.

"The are form a uncommon source." At least as far as the forum go, it don't make a difference as people can find their description in the D20FSR. You only need to have 1 person that know of them in your circle of players and everyone that play a spontaneous spellcaster will know of them.
If we limit ourselves to what is in the CRB or at most in the hardbound half of the forum discussion are moot.

I can assure you that if there were "quick" pearls of power that require a swift action or no action to use plenty of spellcasters that memorize spells will buy them.


Sorcerer is not on my list of classes that need a power boost.
2 skill points more pehaps, but not better casting.


Cap. Darling wrote:

Sorcerer is not on my list of classes that need a power boost.

2 skill points more pehaps, but not better casting.

I agree, but I do feel that one level earlier access to bloodline spells would be appropriate.


Diego Rossi wrote:

Ashiel, Ruenstones are better for some use. No action to use is worth x2 the price.

I am currently playing a magus, so I have pearls of powers and arcane points that work very much like the runestones as I can recharge my spell spending a swift action instead of a standard action.
I can assure you that there is a large difference between firing spells like an MG, where you cast and recharge in the same turn and using them as a single shooter, where you cast the spell and then have to spend an action to recharge.

"The are form a uncommon source." At least as far as the forum go, it don't make a difference as people can find their description in the D20FSR. You only need to have 1 person that know of them in your circle of players and everyone that play a spontaneous spellcaster will know of them.
If we limit ourselves to what is in the CRB or at most in the hardbound half of the forum discussion are moot.

I can assure you that if there were "quick" pearls of power that require a swift action or no action to use plenty of spellcasters that memorize spells will buy them.

I agree that pearls using a command to recover the spell is not in itself a great thing. However I still stand by my statement that pearls are more likely and generally better for prepared casters than runes are, and their price, expanded utility, and so forth does a lot for that.

You'll also notice that while I mentioned that their inclusion in the Pathfinder Society Guidebook is a downside (which I think is plenty fair since not everyone allows agile weapons and when discussing martials people have made valid criticisms as to the reliance on agile weapons for much the same reasons), the majority of my case against them was based on practicality of obtainment and value.

A much better option is pages of spell knowledge, which are from the Ultimate Equipment book. Though I have a similar complaint that they must come from a splat book to make the sorcerer more viable, the biggest difference is that they're actually really amazing.

Spells known are worth far more to a spontaneous caster than spells per day. This goes back to the reason that the domain sorcerers in my campaigns are viable and worthwhile despite the loss of their entire bloodline, and that is because every additional spell known is a multiplier of power for a sorcerer.

1 spell known = sucks
2 spells known = meh
3 spells known = fair
4 spells known = good
5 spells known = great
6 spells known = amazing
7+ spells known = incredible versatility

They're also cheap enough that they can be reasonably obtained by a crafting sorcerer in much the same way as a wizard obtaining pearls, as opposed to Runestones which are not very feasible ever, and due to their cost are going to be rare and often underwhelming drops from enemies or adventures.


Diego Rossi wrote:


That mean that with your houserule the sorcerer get 2 benefits:
- get to know his bloodline spells 1 level earlier
- get extra skill bonuses.

"I give you a boost, so I need to give you another boost to balance that" seem a bit absurd.

I agree, they do get 2 boosts. But the second one is essentially insignificant and pretty much required if the sorcerer is going to get any use whatsoever out of one of his class features. I have never seen a PC sorcerer with more than 3 skill points per level, and that 3 was purely because he had rolled stats and 12 Int. And most core bloodlines have Knowledge bloodline skills. With the result that no sorcerer is going to be more than half-competent at his bloodline without some help.

Besides, I'm not giving the class a boost to balance it, I'm giving it a boost to fill a cosmetic gap. One thing that PF has tried to do is to ensure that there are no dead levels, which I see as a good thing.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I agree that spell know are worth more than a extra spell slot for a spontaneous spellcaster. But apparently every creator of a new magic item or racial benefit feel the same.
So we have several magical items that add spell know one or more times every day, a few races that get extra spell know from their favorite class bonus and Paragon Surge with its specific set of cheese.
And another feat from the last book about the Pathfinders.

The result is that if you allow all the options a sorcerer will have an access to know spell that rival that of the wizard.
At medium to high level it will be in a better position than a wizard if he has prepared the right way.

1 Mnemonic Vestment plus a purloined, borrowed or brought spellbook and he will have the equivalent of a wizard bonded item (minus the extra spell/day). 2 vestment (not a problem if he make them itself) and he will be in a better position than a wizard.

He want to add spell to "his" spellbook? It is easy, he only need to pay a wizard for that. He don't even to hand him the book, the written source can be a few sheets of paper with a copy of the spell in it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mudfoot wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:


That mean that with your houserule the sorcerer get 2 benefits:
- get to know his bloodline spells 1 level earlier
- get extra skill bonuses.

"I give you a boost, so I need to give you another boost to balance that" seem a bit absurd.

I agree, they do get 2 boosts. But the second one is essentially insignificant and pretty much required if the sorcerer is going to get any use whatsoever out of one of his class features. I have never seen a PC sorcerer with more than 3 skill points per level, and that 3 was purely because he had rolled stats and 12 Int. And most core bloodlines have Knowledge bloodline skills. With the result that no sorcerer is going to be more than half-competent at his bloodline without some help.

Besides, I'm not giving the class a boost to balance it, I'm giving it a boost to fill a cosmetic gap. One thing that PF has tried to do is to ensure that there are no dead levels, which I see as a good thing.

Sage bloodline. In my campaign the level 7 sorcerer has 20 intelligence.

Even without that bloodline I have rarely seen characters with less than 12 intelligence, we prefer to start with a 17 instead of a 18 than to have less than 12 in intelligence.

I fail to see why the choice of dumping intelligence for better stats in other characteristics should be rewarded with skill bonuses.
With point buy I think I have seen only once a character with less than 10 in intelligence in one of my campaign.


I think that we can universally agree that the bonus bloodline spells of a sorcerer should be given as soon as they can cast said spell's level, correct?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
aceDiamond wrote:
I think that we can universally agree that the bonus bloodline spells of a sorcerer should be given as soon as they can cast said spell's level, correct?

It seem a reasonable houserule.


Yeah, it's really grating that a necromancy-sorcerer with the undead bloodline has to wait to cast animate dead until after they could have if they were a normal sorcerer if they want to not-waste their bloodline spells. >_>

Also, while with enough splat material the sorcerer can be really nice, I'd prefer my players have a decent package without having to create a duct-tape mummy of splat-material to be functional. Especially when just fixing the base class makes tons of that splat material redundant.


Diego Rossi wrote:
No action to use is worth x2 the price.

Sometimes it is. But the command can be done out of combat (the spell stays memorised) wherein a standard action is neither here nor there. Obviously it would be nice to be able to decide on the fly which spell to recall, but a bit of planning and scouting will often deal with that problem.

And scrolls. Wizards get a free Scribe feat (and probably more spells known), sorcerers don't. So with minor expenditure, wizards can have plenty of spells ready to go, especially the situational ones they won't often need. Add the later Item Creation feats (for wands or potions) and it gets worse.

I think Ashiel has somewhat overstated the case with the 50% of wealth going into Pearls and Runestones (you'll certainly spend a lot on wands, buffs, cloaks prot and so on) so the relevant difference between them is less than that. But the principle is IMHO correct.


Diego Rossi wrote:
Sage bloodline. In my campaign the level 7 sorcerer has 20 intelligence.

Yes. Casting off Int instead of Cha is so much better it isn't funny. The sorcerer has some skills (Intimidate, Bluff, UMD, Diplomacy if Infernal) that feed off Cha, but they're not much use without the skill points to back them up. And Cha isn't a whole lot of good for anything else. So you might be able to pump one of the face skills, but that means you are either scary or a habitual liar, neither of which is always the best approach. And in return, you're no good at Spellcraft or K-A.

I think the only place the Sage loses out on is UMD, and then only at low levels where he has few MDs to U. By the time he's got much gear (5th?), the extra skill points have compensated for the lower Cha.


Mudfoot wrote:
I think Ashiel has somewhat overstated the case with the 50% of wealth going into Pearls and Runestones (you'll certainly spend a lot on wands, buffs, cloaks prot and so on) so the relevant difference between them is less than that. But the principle is IMHO correct.

It's true that 50% WBL is a bit overboard to devote just to more casting, but I felt like it was the most I'd ever consider devoting just to casting more stuff, and considered it "offensive" expenses; and I did it so that I could draw the clearest examples.

The less WBL you can devote to Pearls/Stones, the more pearls seem more appealing. For example, if we cut it down from 50% to only 25%, then you can't afford to even craft a stone at 3rd level. At 4th level, you'd be able to buy 1 pearl or craft 3 pearls, or buy 0 stones and craft 1.

The less money you have to devote to it, the less attractive the stones are, because they are more and more out of reach. The fact buying and finding them is harder is kind of meh.

IMHO, I'd rather cut the difference and allow pearls to be used by all casters (spontaneous or otherwise) and activated as a swift action. In conjunction with the fixes that I gave sorcerers, it allows them a more competitive edge with the wizard, their own unique mechanics (especially for the domain sorcerer who can get spells like call lightning or freedom of movement via domains).

Grand Lodge

after reading this post I must say I Don't feel that the sorcerer needs any help as it is already one of the most powerful classes.

being able to spontaneously cast way offsets the 1 level behind they may be from the wizard in regards to highest level spell.

most wizards are not able to cast Magic missile more than once a day let alone 10+ at 4th level in regards to the spells known issue if you are Human you can user your favored class bonus to add to your known spells each level

Pearls of power has a replacement item for spontaneous casters Rune of power at the same cost. (which in my opinion is better than a pearl of power)


Mudfoot wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
Sage bloodline. In my campaign the level 7 sorcerer has 20 intelligence.

Yes. Casting off Int instead of Cha is so much better it isn't funny. The sorcerer has some skills (Intimidate, Bluff, UMD, Diplomacy if Infernal) that feed off Cha, but they're not much use without the skill points to back them up. And Cha isn't a whole lot of good for anything else. So you might be able to pump one of the face skills, but that means you are either scary or a habitual liar, neither of which is always the best approach. And in return, you're no good at Spellcraft or K-A.

I think the only place the Sage loses out on is UMD, and then only at low levels where he has few MDs to U. By the time he's got much gear (5th?), the extra skill points have compensated for the lower Cha.

Indeed, I have a Sage Sorcerer who just made 8th level (4th level spells! Woot!) and my experience reflects what you have said.

My sorcerer actually has a good Intimidate via the Bruising Intellect trait, use Int mod in place of Cha. Also, though it cost me three feats, Fast Learner, Improvisation, and Improved Improvisation have truly made him a Sage. With the three, he gains a +4 bonus on all skills with no ranks in them, thus I only spend in critical skills, and with high Int have moderate rolls with all knowledge skills.


aceDiamond wrote:
I think that we can universally agree that the bonus bloodline spells of a sorcerer should be given as soon as they can cast said spell's level, correct?

Actually the house-rule that we've used is that a Sorcerer can select the spell as a spell known, and if he does, when he technically gets the spell he can choose another in its place.

Works out to the same thing, I guess.

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