Sorcerer vs Wizard


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I've heard that sorcerers are better casters than wizards, but from what I've seen it's almost the opposite in every way possible. Wizards get access to higher level spells earlier than sorcerers (this really hurts sorcerers at low levels, a 3rd level sorcerer can still only cast 1st level spells), wizards can get more spells by paying a very small amount of gold, the Int stat is much more useful than Cha in my opinion, and due to that the wizard will almost always have better skills than the sorcerer. A high intelligence is super important for spellcraft and knowledges, especially at low levels. The extra known spells for a wizard also makes him better at making magical items than a sorcerer. The only thing I've seen that makes a sorcerer better in any way is the extra damage on certain energy spells from the draconic bloodline, but in order to really make that ability useful, you need to pick a lot of damaging spells...which aren't as useful as types of spells like buff, debuff, summon, or battlefield control. Is there any reason to pick sorcerer over wizard?

Separate question: My brother is GMing a campaign and he wanted to create a group of enemies that would mimic the party (in class choice as well as personality of each player) that would consistently be causing conflicts for the party. The enemies would probably be exactly the same level, so how would a GM keep one party from completely killing off the other after one fight? He wants to do it at around 5th to 10th level, so super high level magic is out.


To the first one, Sorcerers are given the short straw because the devs thought spontaneous casting would be too strong. This is why Runestones are more expensive than pearls of power, Sorcerers gets spells late, and many other things just don't work as well for them.

As for the second, you can't in any satisfactory way. You either just adamantly say 'The evil party gets away, swearing revenge' or you make up a dark god that saves them in the nick of time, or something else obviously railroady.


You are not wrong. Wizard gets higher level spells faster. Int is probably a better overall stat than charisma.

But, you aren't accounting for spontaneous casting nor more spells per day. Also the bloodlines give a lot more versatility than just extra damage here or there.

As for your second question, run or outside interference are easy options. I've done this before, but ran counter-classes. Against the paladin I brought in a barbarian, against the oracle a druid, against the wizard a sorcerer, and the rogue faced a ranger. They faced off early in a verbal confrontation that got no lethally physical. It escalated each time they faced each other.

Remember conflicting/rival doesn't need to mean evil/archenemy.

If your brother is good/lucky enough he could make it so the PC's despise the opposing group, but the players like them. This will make the players want to defeat the group without killing them.


So whomever told you sorcerers are better than wizards isn't wrong, but isn't right either.

Wizards are generally valued more because of their increased spell versatility. But if you want to focus on one particular spell or series of spell, not having to prepare them and being able to cast them spontaneously while still being able to know and cast other spells is useful.

There are also a certain bloodline that allows you to make an int based sorcerer (Empyreal bloodline).

Delayed spell level progression is certainly a drawback, but sorcerers do get more spells per day than a wizard, discounting their school specific spell slot which may or may not be useful.

I'm not sure one is outright better 100% of the time, but the wizard definitely has much higher versatility. And that usually means with the proper preparation the wizard has a better tool for the job than a sorcerer.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sambo wrote:

I've heard that sorcerers are better casters than wizards, but from what I've seen it's almost the opposite in every way possible. Wizards get access to higher level spells earlier than sorcerers (this really hurts sorcerers at low levels, a 3rd level sorcerer can still only cast 1st level spells), wizards can get more spells by paying a very small amount of gold, the Int stat is much more useful than Cha in my opinion, and due to that the wizard will almost always have better skills than the sorcerer. A high intelligence is super important for spellcraft and knowledges, especially at low levels. The extra known spells for a wizard also makes him better at making magical items than a sorcerer. The only thing I've seen that makes a sorcerer better in any way is the extra damage on certain energy spells from the draconic bloodline, but in order to really make that ability useful, you need to pick a lot of damaging spells...which aren't as useful as types of spells like buff, debuff, summon, or battlefield control. Is there any reason to pick sorcerer over wizard?

Separate question: My brother is GMing a campaign and he wanted to create a group of enemies that would mimic the party (in class choice as well as personality of each player) that would consistently be causing conflicts for the party. The enemies would probably be exactly the same level, so how would a GM keep one party from completely killing off the other after one fight? He wants to do it at around 5th to 10th level, so super high level magic is out.

1. Your brother reads way too much Order of the Stick. :)

2. You're making assumptions that vary from GM to GM, including that of easy and cheap access to new spells.

Sorcerers have advantages which compensate for their weaknesses. While they know a limited number of spells, all of their spell knowledge is accessible at once. They don't have to pick and choose which spells will be prepared for each given day. They also have far greater flexibility when it comes to metamagic feats. Unlike wizards they don't have to commit to the use of their feats in advance. Sorcerers are also far less likely to be crippled by the confiscation of a spell components pouch, and they don't have a spellbook to worry about.

Their access to higher level spells is delayed ONLY by a single level. And when they do get them, they will generally have more slots of their higher level spells available than a wizard would.

They also have bloodlines to give them a lot of individual flavor.


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I'll make a short list of the pros, cons, and things that could be either.

Sorcerers
Pros
-Bloodline Arcana (ranges from useless to extremely strong depending on your bloodline)
-No Opposed Schools
-More Spells Per Day
-Bloodline Spells (depending on your bloodline, get out-of-class spells or just fill in a bunch of core spells for free)

Neutrals
-Bloodline Powers (about the same power level as Arcane School powers)
-Bloodline Feats (different selection from Wizard bonus feats, but comparable power)
-Familiar (optional)
-Spontaneous Casting (harder to do metamagic, easier to adapt to situations on the fly)

Cons
-Fewer Spells Known
-Eschew Materials instead of Scribe Scroll (or Spell Focus in PFS)
-No access to Arcane Discoveries
-Learn new levels of spells 1 level behind

Liberty's Edge

First one: there's the sage archetype that allows you to use Int as your casting stat that also allows you to be more capable at skill usage. And sorcerers don't get opposition schools, so you can really pick and choose the spells you want without having to expend 2 spell slots to cast them. And some people just prefer spontaneous casting to prepared casting. Personally I don't think it's enough to make the sorcerer better than a wizard, but I can see why people might enjoy playing one over a wizard.

As for the the second, I think you need some deus ex machina to have these characters coming back. Either someone resurrecting them when they get killed, have them an effect where they are teleported away when dropped to 0 hit points or just leave how these enemies are coming back be a mystery.

EDIT - Holy ninja, guess that's what happens when you decide to make some tea before submitting.


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I have apparently overused the bad guys come back with my players. One baddie they took on gave them some serious trouble and they ended up taking her body and destroying it with acid (she was immune to fire) to prevent her from coming back. I took this as a sign that they didn't want to see her again.

Grand Lodge

It really depends on the setting. If you know what challenges you will be facing the wizard can prep for it the day prior. The sorc keeps the same spell selection but can throw out a lot more of those spells he does know.

In short, sorcerers are better for new players as they have to make less logistical decisions to make and have fewer spells to understand. Since most GM's don't fully tax preparedness and certain campaign settings/paths rely heavily on 1 or 2 creature types so the sorc can easily choose the appropriate spells during level ups and have scrolls for the rest.

The Wizard is the one that says "I have something that will help", regardless of the situation, but may run out of offensive spells much, much sooner relative to a Sorc. I prefer Wizards myself.

As far as your second question, it is very easy to overuse NPC antagonists as combatants, especially if you want them to remain in the campaign. Its better they be rivals racing them to the ruins, cutting ropes needed to return, and showing them up in a bar fight "look at what WE found in the ruins before you got there!". The players should want to kill them, but never given the opportunity. The GM can bring them back or allow them to escape only a few times before it strains credulity if he intends them to be direct rival combatants.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Welcome to the apples v oranges that is the wizard v sorcerer (or cleric v oracle).

Both are different, both are awesome in their own ways, and many prefer one to the other depending on play style.

Personally, I can use both effectively and like both equally.

I have seen some players that have spell selection paralysis with prepared casters - always choosing niche spells that are never used that day, or can't make up their minds and spend hours on making a spell list. Other players feel too constrained by Spontaneous caster spell lists and will only play prepared casters. Spontaneous casters become awesome when a situation arises that forces a caster to use the same spell five times, and doesn't have it as a wand or scroll. They also do not suffer from the loss of a spell book. Prepared casters become awesome when a niche situation comes up, and with planning can allow the caster to retool their spells for that unique circumstance (we're going to the forest of the undead, can we have death ward or invisibility to undead?)


I find this is the breakdown.

Wizard is a sort-of blank slate that allows for more complexity and in some case requires it as you need to be very aware of what you prepare, how many you prepare, and maximizing usage of metamagic feats.

Sorcerer on the other hand is easier to play due to less thought put into their spells and generally metmagic feats can cause an issue if you don't like increasing your cast time, but if you don't need the move action for your turn then it shoudln't be too much of a problem.

The big difference is the bloodlines throwing spells at you that you may not normally have access to or supplement your limited spell list. The bloodlines also can give neat boosts and more flavorful abilites.

The bloodlines also let you potentially give you flexibility with stats as you can get bloodlines to grant you Wisdom or Intelligence based spellcasting/features instead of charisma if you don't want to be party face.

So from a build standpoint the wizard is mainly defined by the school of magic they focus into but with class features you don't change much. While sorcerers are defined by the bloodline they have and each sorcerer can be flavor-fully different than the last in how they're built.

Its somewhat like cleric vs oracle. Clerics mainly chose a god/domain which defines them, while Oracles can basically be anything and fill almost any role due to modular the mysteries/curses make the class.

That said my only gripe against the Sorcerer is how bad their first bloodline ability is most of the time. While at low level a magic user may be expected to participate in melee to avoid using their spells or as a backup plan when their spells run out. But with the BAB and the later spell versatility you'll have it feels like dead weight later on. But that's mostly because it feels like certain bloodlines want melee sorcerer to be a thing, but considering your hit dice allotment i'd say that's a bad one.

So I think the main part is Wizards in theory are better, but unless your player really knows how to utilize magic and properly prepare spells to be a good swiss army knife of death, the sorcerer will be just as strong if not stronger due to little bumps, boosts, and utilities granted by bloodlines.


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The way I see it Sorcerers are more versatile in the moment, while Wizards are more Versatile in the long term.

Sorcerers don't need to know what's coming, they're as prepared as they'll ever be when they wake up in the morning (even if they wake up in prison with all their stuff gone).

Wizards need time to prepare, and have to know what's coming to some degree to be helpful. However, Wizards can potentially learn every spell in the book, so with preparation time, they can be ready for anything.

If your GM is the type to throw unexpected encounters at you, keep you fighting long past your bedtime, and take your stuff from you (sunder/steal your spellbook for example), then Sorcerer is probably a better bet.

If your GM is the type to let you rest between encounters, let you study your enemy in advance & not steal your stuff all the time, Wizard is probably better.

Having said that, I tend to role-play them quite differently, so there's that aspect. Personally I think I prefer Wizard, but that's completely due to the flavour.


MrCharisma wrote:

The way I see it Sorcerers are more versatile in the moment, while Wizards are more Versatile in the long term.

Sorcerers don't need to know what's coming, they're as prepared as they'll ever be when they wake up in the morning (even if they wake up in prison with all their stuff gone).

Wizards need time to prepare, and have to know what's coming to some degree to be helpful. However, Wizards can potentially learn every spell in the book, so with preparation time, they can be ready for anything.

If your GM is the type to throw unexpected encounters at you, keep you fighting long past your bedtime, and take your stuff from you (sunder/steal your spellbook for example), then Sorcerer is probably a better bet.

If your GM is the type to let you rest between encounters, let you study your enemy in advance & not steal your stuff all the time, Wizard is probably better.

Having said that, I tend to role-play them quite differently, so there's that aspect. Personally I think I prefer Wizard, but that's completely due to the flavour.

*Sigh* This AGAIN? Apart from the last line, THIS, but I prefer spontaneous casters any day so there is my bias.

What a few people have omitted is the ability to spam spells situationally (e.g. Dispel Magic, Fly, Fireball, etc.) this has saved MANY parties I've played in) - a good Sorcerer simply picks spells they are LIKELY to need whilst adventuring.

Sorcerers get to (ab)use different casting levels, a sorcerer can (if they have to) use higher level slots to cast lower level spells (often when they need to spam) and this is without discussing the various metamagic options, so they can make the most of every spell slot they have (as well a having fewer spells to cast how many time have you seen a wizard left with a situationally useless spell in an encounter?)

Some Metamagics also partly allow Sorcerers to make up for the fewer spells known by giving them more options for the different spells across their various spell levels e.g. Extend Spell, Persistent Spell.

Sorcerers additional metamagic casting time is often cited but apart from when you must get into a specific position to cast the spell (say Burning Hands) it is pretty irrelevant and has never gotten me killed yet.

Sorcerers are the true masters of metamagic, there are some spell/metamagic combinations that a wizard would probably simply never take (Heightened Light anyone?) - a Sorcerer with the appropriate Spell/Metamagic can respond to the needs of the situation.

And probably my most contentious view: It is not EVERY level Sorcerer is casting lower maximum level spells than a Wizard (there are only eight in fact...) Just saying...

Sure a Wizard MIGHT be able to plan for a specific encounter better (this still assumes they have good intelligence and all the spells they need in their spellbooks...) and they are better crafters but that doesn't rock my boat.

The best combination in a party is probably one of each (and playstyle is a factor here too) because they synergise really well and cover the weaknesses of each other. Play the one you think is more fun ultimately.


Sorcerers are easier to play and- for many many many people- more fun to play as well.

Wizards are significantly more powerful for many reasons.

An experienced Wizard player in the same party as a sorcerer [of equal experience] has to try very hard not to overshadow said sorcerer [such as perhaps collaborating with the sorcerer player in advance and selecting Prohibited Schools of magic that align with the Sorcerer's intended magical focus.]


Sorcerer vs Wizard - flexibility versus versatility.

Sounds like the same thing, but the Sorcerer never expends an option when expending a resource (a spell per day). Wizards have more options, but casting a spell cuts costs options as well as resources. A wizard has more limited tactics on their 4th encounter of the day compared to their 1st, the sorcerer can use the same playbook the whole day long. But the sorcerer has a smaller playbook, and the wizard has a butt-ton of tactical options for the 1st encounter. Once you bring in items, like wands and scrolls and metamagic rods, their deficits aren't as pronounced but their fundamental differences remain.

Personally, I prefer the sorcerer.

Party vs Party

If they are causing conflict, they don't have to be fighting the party. If they were rivals rather than enemies, they could be competing for the favour of a patron, trying to undermine the party in social encounters, passing themselves off as the party when it comes to reaping rewards. If they have to fight the party, keeping them from being killed can be narrative, like hinting at vital information that can keep the party from killing them, or fighting under the watchful eye of the authorities; or tactical, such as using battlefield control spells or disabling combat manoeuvres to create space to retreat, rather than turn the tide of the fight.


wizards and sorcerers each have strengths and weaknesses. In generalities id say it was largely a matter of someone who does battle with their head and one who fights on the fly or with heart. In the specifics of comparing say blasters one can overcome the other. One is also better than the other in being controller and so on for niche styles.

What I will say for the wizard is skills combined with feats of choice is statistically better than a random sorcerer bloodline as too many powers or feats for a sorcerer is of questionable value.


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Generally wizards are a bit more powerful - on odd numbered levels, their extra level of spells brings down the difference in spells per day to practically nothing.

But, for example, playing a Core-only campaign, I found my group were about to have to face a blue dragon and a red dragon simultaneously. As a Sorcerer, I was able to burn through most of my level 2 & 3 spell slots to give a party of six protection from both fire and lightning. As a Wizard, it's highly unlikely I'd have been that well prepared.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Sorcerer + Words of Power, you have become a wizard! But well not many people like words of power.


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Sambo wrote:
I've heard that sorcerers are better casters than wizards, but from what I've seen it's almost the opposite in every way possible. ... Is there any reason to pick sorcerer over wizard? ...

It is very group, campaign, and GM dependant.

In my previous gaming group we had who almost never let me find out very much of what was going to be happening or who I would be fighting. The group never wanted to wait around while I filled an empty slot. Even if I talked them into waiting, the GM would rarely give enough uninterrupted time to do so. The campaign was a constant race against time so very nearly zero time to craft any magic items (I was only able to make a few low level scrolls over several levels). The group would get irritated when I was using game time to change my daily list of spells.
So I almost always had the same list of generally useful spells prepared. But what if I needed 3 fly spells that day? Too bad I only had 1 prepared. So I had the same list of spells each day like a sorc, but I couldn’t spam a spell if that was what I needed a bunch of right then. I struggled through 7 levels with my wizard being mostly fairly ineffectual. Most of the time he was less useful that the poorly built fighter run by the newbie. I retired him and made an oracle. Definitely not extremely optimized, but easily one of the most effective characters in the group (might have been edged out by the paladin, but close). In that campaign, with that group, and that GM – a prepared caster is at an extreme disadvantage. Spontaneous casters are substantially more effective.

The group before that was almost exactly the opposite in all respects. Detailed info was fairly easy to come by, the group had no problem taking time for preparation and detailed plans, and the campaign had plenty of down time for whatever we needed/wanted to do getting ready. So the prepared caster was almost always able to be ready with the very nearly perfect spell for each situation to really significant effect. Could make whatever magic items we wanted.
In that campaign, with that group, and that GM – a prepared caster is everything. They are virtually unstoppable and will make virtually any other type of PC look like second string support.

Most groups (including my current one) are somewhere in between. Both are effective. Both have strengths and weaknesses. I think it is actually best to have one of each in a group. A prepared caster to try and have the perfect spell when you know what to expect AND spontaneous caster that can spam pretty good spells like crazy when the smelly-stuff-hits-the-rotary-impeller! So maybe a druid and sorc or a wizard and oracle.

Then of course you get into all the issues of the spell book caster. Which spells do I have in my spell book? Which spells should I pay to get added to my spell book? How many / which ones of my spell books is my 5 str wizard trying to carry around? How many slots do I leave open today? I need to read/learn/ready about 6 times as many spells. Etc… Many players simply hate trying to deal with all that crap.

Additionally there are some (like me) that are just bugged by the whole Vancian prepared caster concept. I just have a hard time getting it to make sense in my head. The spontaneous caster (or even more so the arcanist) makes more sense and 'fits' with what I think a caster should be like.

Sambo wrote:

...

Separate question: My brother is GMing a campaign and he wanted to create a group of enemies that would mimic the party (in class choice as well as personality of each player) that would consistently be causing conflicts for the party. The enemies would probably be exactly the same level, so how would a GM keep one party from completely killing off the other after one fight? He wants to do it at around 5th to 10th level, so super high level magic is out.

Really, it is almost impossible with the PF rule set and the way most players behave (some degree of murderhobo-ish-ness). There’s only a few ways I’ve seen it work even slightly.

The other group is (also) working for a noble. There will be lots of problems if the party just kills them with any witnesses about. This also means the GM can’t have the opposition group go all out or the PC’s will think they have no choice but to kill them, regardless of consequences. Think Three Musketeers and the other groups working for the Cardinal.

Opposition group is very cowardly/careful about how they do things. They fire a few spells and poisoned arrows from the top of the hill then duck down. By the time the PC’s get there they have mounted their horses (with expeditious retreat) and are already racing to the horizon. Or the outfit and buff some brigands that they have do most of the attacking and dying. The of course run away long before they can get trapped.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I find that it depends on who is playing them. Some people are much better at wizards, while others are better at sorcerers. Find out which better fits your play style and go with it.

If you try to play them the same way it will not work well for you.

I think that the sorcerer bloodlines have a big impact on how they are played as well. It has a much bigger impact than the wizard schools.


Sambo wrote:
Separate question: My brother is GMing a campaign and he wanted to create a group of enemies that would mimic the party (in class choice as well as personality of each player) that would consistently be causing conflicts for the party. The enemies would probably be exactly the same level, so how would a GM keep one party from completely killing off the other after one fight? He wants to do it at around 5th to 10th level, so super high level magic is out.

Some options:

Make them rivals rather than enemies - so it would feel like murder if you killed them.

Give them a high level ally who specialises in recovering their bodies and raising them from the dead.

Make them some kind of undead that always comes back to life.

Give them some kind of magical item that automatically teleports them away when they're losing.

They have hostages. "Let us go or our henchman kills your mother."

Make it so you need them alive - they're the only ones who know how to open / close the magic portal or whatever.

Or: just say to the players, "Please don't kill these guys - the game will be more fun with them alive."

Liberty's Edge

kyrt-ryder wrote:
An experienced Wizard player in the same party as a sorcerer [of equal experience] has to try very hard not to overshadow said sorcerer [such as perhaps collaborating with the sorcerer player in advance and selecting Prohibited Schools of magic that align with the Sorcerer's intended magical focus.]

If I'm understanding this correctly, then I disagree with it. If you believe that Sorcerers need to have an "intended magic focus" then it's likely that you're picking their spells poorly (and therefore handicapping them). A Sorcerer needs a bunch of spells that are likely to prove useful. They don't require a theme, although they can benefit from spells that synergize well together (mechanically, not thematically).

With proper preparation, a Wizard can have the perfect spell at his fingertips. With no preparation whatsoever, a Sorcerer can have a spell that will do quite nicely, and cast it half a dozen or more times.

Liberty's Edge

Wizard: I've scryed the enemy, and I've prepared the perfect combination of spells to deal with them. Their doom is upon them.

Sorcerer: Too late. I killed them all yesterday.


Heymitch wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
An experienced Wizard player in the same party as a sorcerer [of equal experience] has to try very hard not to overshadow said sorcerer [such as perhaps collaborating with the sorcerer player in advance and selecting Prohibited Schools of magic that align with the Sorcerer's intended magical focus.]

If I'm understanding this correctly, then I disagree with it. If you believe that Sorcerers need to have an "intended magic focus" then it's likely that you're picking their spells poorly (and therefore handicapping them). A Sorcerer needs a bunch of spells that are likely to prove useful. They don't require a theme, although they can benefit from spells that synergize well together (mechanically, not thematically).

With proper preparation, a Wizard can have the perfect spell at his fingertips. With no preparation whatsoever, a Sorcerer can have a spell that will do quite nicely, and cast it half a dozen or more times.

You misunderstand my meaning.

A Sorcerer in a party on his own does best as a generalist mage with the best of the best Sorc spells available.

A Sorcerer trying to play that game in the same party as a Wizard looks like a child trying and failing to imitate his parent.

Liberty's Edge

kyrt-ryder wrote:

A Sorcerer in a party on his own does best as a generalist mage with the best of the best Sorc spells available.

A Sorcerer trying to play that game in the same party as a Wizard looks like a child trying and failing to imitate his parent.

This probably explains why every PFS party is composed of nothing but Wizards...


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I feel like the wizard is this nerd on the road to be successful and the sorcerer is his hot sister. They're related but the wizard gets better grades and is definitely going to be the more successful one but the sorcerer is more popular.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

A sorcerer with Eschew Materials, Silent Spell, and Still Spell cannot have his powers taken away from him. He could be stripped, bound, and gagged and he's still going to be able to mess your day up.

A wizard is worthless 24 hours after you've taken his spellbook away. Or nearly worthless immediately if you take his component pouch away.

This is why I like sorcerers. Having your power be innate is a big deal. There are whole threads dedicated to coming up with ideas for stopping and/or imprisoning sorcerers, and you know what they came up with?

Killing them. Petrification sometimes works too. Those were pretty much the only effective solutions anyone could come up with. The myriad of things that stop other people just don't really work characters whose powers are an innate part of their very being.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Heymitch wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
An experienced Wizard player in the same party as a sorcerer [of equal experience] has to try very hard not to overshadow said sorcerer [such as perhaps collaborating with the sorcerer player in advance and selecting Prohibited Schools of magic that align with the Sorcerer's intended magical focus.]

If I'm understanding this correctly, then I disagree with it. If you believe that Sorcerers need to have an "intended magic focus" then it's likely that you're picking their spells poorly (and therefore handicapping them). A Sorcerer needs a bunch of spells that are likely to prove useful. They don't require a theme, although they can benefit from spells that synergize well together (mechanically, not thematically).

With proper preparation, a Wizard can have the perfect spell at his fingertips. With no preparation whatsoever, a Sorcerer can have a spell that will do quite nicely, and cast it half a dozen or more times.

You misunderstand my meaning.

A Sorcerer in a party on his own does best as a generalist mage with the best of the best Sorc spells available.

A Sorcerer trying to play that game in the same party as a Wizard looks like a child trying and failing to imitate his parent.

And that parent looks like a selfish old fart when they are unable to cast Fly, Invisibility, Darkvision and so forth on anyone other than themselves...

One other tactic I use with Sorcerers is using extend spell to carry long term buffs over into the next adventuring day (e.g. Darkvision) - often for multiple party members. Like to see a Wizard doing that.


Ravingdork wrote:
A wizard is worthless 24 hours after you've taken his spellbook away. Or nearly worthless immediately if you take his component pouch away.

Actually I'm pretty sure there's nothing in any of the books that says a Wizard loses their spells 24 hours after preparing them. They lose them when they cast them, or when they prepare new ones. Therefore a Wizard with Eschew Materials still has all their power after you take their spellbook away, it just doesn't replenish until they find the book.

Having said that, the sorcerer still wins out:
1: Sorcerer has more spells/day, so when they're captured/separated-from-their-party they can spam all the spells they need to get out/back.
2: If they're taken for a long time, Sorcerers get their spells back every morning, Wizards need to find their spellbook.
3: Still/Silent Spell - If bound and gagged, a wizard is limited to whatever they prepared as a still/silent spell that morning, likely not much. A sorcerer is limited to whatever spells aren't in their top 2 spell levels (or don't have a V or S component).

Having said all of that, It is kind of a moot point since it's probably harder to bind and gag a mid-level sorcerer/wizard than it is to just murder them.


DominusMegadeus wrote:
This is why Runestones are more expensive than pearls of power.

This isn't true. They're more expensive because they allow you to re-cast ANY spell of that level you know, a pearl of power only allows you to recast a specific spell.


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ElterAgo wrote:

It is very group, campaign, and GM dependant.

In my previous gaming group we had who almost never let me find out very much of what was going to be happening or who I would be fighting. The group never wanted to wait around while I filled an empty slot. Even if I talked them into waiting, the GM would rarely give enough uninterrupted time to do so. The campaign was a constant race against time so very nearly zero time to craft any magic items (I was only able to make a few low level scrolls over several levels). The group would get irritated when I was using game time to change my daily list of spells.
So I almost always had the same list of generally useful spells prepared. But what if I needed 3 fly spells that day? Too bad I only had 1 prepared. So I had the same list of spells each day like a sorc, but I couldn’t spam a spell if that was what I needed a bunch of right then. I struggled through 7 levels with my wizard being mostly fairly ineffectual. Most of the time he was less useful that the poorly built fighter run by the newbie. I retired him and made an oracle. Definitely not extremely optimized, but easily one of the most effective characters in the group (might have been edged out by the paladin, but close). In that campaign, with that group, and that GM – a prepared caster is at an extreme disadvantage. Spontaneous casters are substantially more effective.

The group before that was almost exactly the opposite in all respects. Detailed info was fairly easy to come by, the group had no problem taking time for preparation and detailed plans, and the campaign had plenty of down time for whatever we needed/wanted to do getting ready. So the prepared caster was almost always able to be ready with the very nearly perfect spell for each situation to really significant effect. Could make...

This is the reality of Wizards. The theory is that Wizards are all powerful and can do anything at any time, which just isn't true.


Jodokai wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:
This is why Runestones are more expensive than pearls of power.
This isn't true. They're more expensive because they allow you to re-cast ANY spell of that level you know, a pearl of power only allows you to recast a specific spell.

Both give one slot. Pearls of power also give the major benefit of spontaneous casting. Pearls of power can solve the problem of a wizard not having prepared six protection from energies. Runestones can't solve the sorcerer's problem of not knowing protection from energy.

Runestones also must be used when you cast the spell, meaning they aren't suited for combat. Pearls can be used between combats. They don't allow five dispel magics in one fight, but they do allow on preparation of haste to be reused as many times per day as the wizard wants to pay for. In terms of stealing the other casting style's advantages the pearl of power does the job of both a runestone and a page of spell knowledge in one. For cheaper than either.

So, no. Runestones aren't more expensive because of any real advantage. They're more expensive because the devs don't like spontaneous casting. Except when they give it to wizards for a feat while getting versatile spontaneity costs an added spell slot tax after you pay the feat.


Atarlost wrote:
Runestones also must be used when you cast the spell, meaning they aren't suited for combat.

How are they not suited for combat? They're a weightless slotless item you can carry into battle or retrieve from your Handy Haversack.

Their one advantage over the Pearl of Power is that the Pearl needs a standard action to regain your spell before you cast it - so if the wizard needs to turn one fireball into many to deal with a bunch of swarms, he can only cast them on alternating rounds. I'd say that makes Runestones more suited to combat.


I've been playing with an evocation Sorcerer recently, and one of the things that's worth mentioning is: They're level 10 and know 4 evocation spells, half of which come from their bloodline. That's all they need because they just use metamagics to utilise all their spell slots. The full round casting time hasn't ever been an issue. All of their other spells are the generally useful magic such as Fly, Teleport, Dispel magic and so on.

The big strength of a sorcerer is being able to get away with knowing very few spells of their specialisation and being really good at it, while also picking up other generally useful spells so they can do things out of combat. You don't need to specialise heavily to cast fly or mage armour or other spells like that.

And again, being able to use the same spell repeatedly helps, and not being restricted by what you have prepared helps. Nothing sucks quite so much as being an enchantment/illusion specialised wizard and unexpectedly coming up against undead.

That said, a well prepared wizard will beat a sorcerer hands down. You can know a sorcerer's entire list of spells known and adjust accordingly.

The other big consideration is money. A filthy rich sorcerer is a lot stronger than a filthy rich wizard. Pages of Spell Knowledge are wonderful things, and having a huge list of spells you can cast a lot at the drop of a hat is a lot better than having a huge list of spells that you only have access to if you're expecting it.
Also, the mnemonic vestment is a huge boon to sorcerers.

It's probably obvious that I prefer sorcerers myself, but I've found that whenever I've played a wizard, or used wizards in adventure paths for things I've run, they've almost invariably had the wrong things prepared for the situation and all of the right things are in opposition schools. You really need to be able to see the future to do Wizard well.

Indeed, even when I've played with Wizards, the times they've been most effective were when they left spell slots open and just spent the 15 minutes to cast them 'spontaneously'.

Never forget! All casters are spontaneous. Some of them just have 15 minute casting times.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What I'd do in your rival group case is sort of counter-intuitive. Rather than being intentionally opposed, they're sort of accidentally opposed. For whatever reason, their task is the same, but their motives are incompatible and it would be clearly an evil thing to not let them go ahead with it. They're always apologetic whenever they have to fight and always deal non-lethal damage if possible. Putting a Paladin in there as well could be a good choice.

Whenever they're sent off to do something, this other party's there and they've beaten them to it. They've got the item already, but they're going to use it for such an obviously good reason that you should make the party feel really bad about trying to take it off them, but also that they can't not take it off them. They're trying to kill the monster to free the princess from her curse, but it will only work if one of them strikes the killing blow and they're not willing to take chances. Maybe there's a prophecy that says that your party's going to do terrible evil if they do this certain thing and the rival group is trying to stop them.

Okay, that's a little corny and not what you want, but if I was running a recurring rival party and I didn't want my party killing them, that's probably how I'd do it. Guilt trip 'em if they interfere, but also annoy the hell out of 'em.

Alternatively, you know their characters and what they do. Just design them so that they're as effective as possible at beating down their opposite.

If they've got a Wizard or Cleric, never underestimate the power of counterspells (especially if they can scry on them as they prepare spells). Make sure they've got easy access to escape routes. Contingent action can be a life saver. Don't forget about feat combinations like Stick Together and Escape Route.


Wolin wrote:
They're level 10 and know 4 evocation spells, half of which come from their bloodline. That's all they need because they just use metamagics to utilise all their spell slots. The full round casting time hasn't ever been an issue. All of their other spells are the generally useful magic such as Fly, Teleport, Dispel magic and so on.

One of the things I don't enjoy about Sorcerers (not the filthy rich kind) is that there's a set of 'standard' spells and it's pretty hard to justify not having them - and they don't leave much room for unusual spells or interesting character themes. The party will probably expect you to be able to cast Fly and Haste and Dispel Magic and Fireball - which takes up all your Level 3 slots until level 11.


Matthew Downie wrote:
... The party will probably expect you to be able to cast ...

I honestly tend to refuse those kind of expectations unless I also want it.

If your build/function is so completely damn dependent on having haste every combat, then you better figure out how to provide it. Most any caster can have dispel magic, why does it have to be mine? I agree a few AoE damaging spells are necessary but again, it doesn't have to be me and it doesn't have to be fireball.
What I will do is work with the other casters to make sure that among all of us we can provide a dispel magic, fly, teleport, AoE, etc... for those really critical functions. OR that the group puts back some funds to buy magic items to take care of it.

I will do my fair share, but I'm not going to let your character dictate what mine must have.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Due to magic items and feats, prepared casters have very little advantages over Sorcs.

Versatile Spontaneity is a feat. It lets a spon caster prepare Spells of their choice (need Int, of course). So, with one feat they can prepare the perfect spell for dealing with the enemy ahead of time as they wish, using up some of their copious spell slots to do so!

The 'gets spells earlier' is nice, but not as important as you think. You know something? Even with that advantage, sorcs still end up being able to cast more spells/day then a wizard?

You know something else? Favored class bonus/human for +1 Spell Known? At level 4 and higher, means +17 spells known. Sorcerors have access to more spells at their fingertips that they can cast repeatedly then any wizard.
The wizard can cast 1 spell of their choice from their spellbooks/day.
You know something else? Wizards have to pay for more then their first 2 spells/caster level.
You know something else? With Versatile Spontaneity, Rings of Spell Knowledge and Menemonic Vestments, sorcs can have spellbooks and do the exact same thing? Only they get more Spells Known, so, like they don't have to spend as much.
And Pages of Spell Knowledge are always nice for cherry-picking the best spells to always have.

Empyreal Bloodline can use Wisdom, which can net you a colossal will save. Sage Bloodline can use Intelligence, which gets you all those skills the wizard gets. Or you can be the CEO while the wizard is the nerd designing the next computer for you to make money off him, which is how the world works.
Gawd, there's even an Orc bloodline that works off Constitution!

And, as noted, you can't take away a sorc's basic spellcasting. Even funnier, you Feeblemind a wizard, he's useless. A sorcerer still has full casting!

==Aelryinth

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Matthew Downie wrote:
Wolin wrote:
They're level 10 and know 4 evocation spells, half of which come from their bloodline. That's all they need because they just use metamagics to utilise all their spell slots. The full round casting time hasn't ever been an issue. All of their other spells are the generally useful magic such as Fly, Teleport, Dispel magic and so on.
One of the things I don't enjoy about Sorcerers (not the filthy rich kind) is that there's a set of 'standard' spells and it's pretty hard to justify not having them - and they don't leave much room for unusual spells or interesting character themes. The party will probably expect you to be able to cast Fly and Haste and Dispel Magic and Fireball - which takes up all your Level 3 slots until level 11.

Haste is only really useful in a party with multiple warrior types. They can get boots of speed. If the party is mostly casters, its optional. Going in with a blind group like PFS...yeah, you'd be better off with it then without it. That's because it's simply an optimal spell, and 'your build is so reliant on me having this' is a cop-out. Your ability to generate multiple attacks for people, let them hit and dodge better, and move faster, is simply the best battlefield action YOU can take, in many circumstances, not an action they MUST have.

Fireball is likely only needed if you are a good blaster, it becomes useless very quickly unless you build specifically for blasting. Haste is often a better offensive spell, simply because it doesn't damage the scenery so much.

Dispel Magic, on the other hand, is a spell that you must often spam, and yes, its hard to justify NOT having this one.

And while you don't HAVE to have fly...what caster in their right mind wouldn't want it, if they could get it? Weeeeeee...

The 'thematic' part of a sorc will always be the bloodline...that's why they GIVE YOU THE BLOODLINE SPELLS. Because they are strong on flavor, not always on utility, and you get to PICK THE THEME.

But, even more fun for sorcs, is there are multiple and fairly cheap ways to quickly increase your Spells Known, which helps tons with either utility spells or flavor spells, as you like.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:
... Even funnier, you Feeblemind a wizard, he's useless. A sorcerer still has full casting! ...

I at least sorta agreed with you up until this one.

Feeblemind:

School enchantment (compulsion) [mind-affecting]; Level sorcerer/wizard 5
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a handful of clay, crystal, or glass spheres)
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target one creature
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates; see text; Spell Resistance yes

Target creature's Intelligence and Charisma scores each drop to 1. The affected creature is unable to use Intelligence- or Charisma-based skills, cast spells, understand language, or communicate coherently. Still, it knows who its friends are and can follow them and even protect them. The subject remains in this state until a heal, limited wish, miracle, or wish spell is used to cancel the effect of the feeblemind. A creature that can cast arcane spells, such as a sorcerer or a wizard, takes a –4 penalty on its saving throw.

Only works for the empyreal bloodline.
.
.

Aelryinth wrote:
... and 'your build is so reliant on me having this' is a cop-out. Your ability to generate multiple attacks for people, let them hit and dodge better, and move faster, is simply the best battlefield action YOU can take, in many circumstances, not an action they MUST have. ...

No it's not a cop-out. If I want Haste and/or Dispel Magic (and I usually do), I will take them. I agree they are pretty dang good spells. I was responding to the other guy saying that the expectations of others means that any sorc MUST have them.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

whoops! I stand Corrected!

And there's never a 'must'. There's only 'what's good for the party?' In a drop in game, it's a risk-free great spell. For a group game, not so much. But it IS one of the key spells that get spammed a lot.

==Aelryinth


Yeah, my list of compulsory spells was somewhat specific to the last campaign I was in. Core only (so most of the versatility options you listed weren't available), ending at level 9ish, lots of martials in the group. As the only one who could cast Haste, it was my boring no-brainer first action in most battles from level 6 onwards. I skipped Fly because I was Earth Elemental bloodline and it didn't make much thematic sense. I managed to get away without Dispel Magic. I took Fireball because no-one else in the group would be able to harm a swarm.

Good character, but I wouldn't want to play another Core-only Sorcerer.

Scarab Sages

ElterAgo wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
... Even funnier, you Feeblemind a wizard, he's useless. A sorcerer still has full casting! ...

I at least sorta agreed with you up until this one.

** spoiler omitted **

Only works for the empyreal bloodline.
.
.

Aelryinth wrote:
... and 'your build is so reliant on me having this' is a cop-out. Your ability to generate multiple attacks for people, let them hit and dodge better, and move faster, is simply the best battlefield action YOU can take, in many circumstances, not an action they MUST have. ...
No it's not a cop-out. If I want Haste and/or Dispel Magic (and I usually do), I will take them. I agree they are pretty dang good spells. I was responding to the other guy saying that the expectations of others means that any sorc MUST have them.

Feeblemind tanks EVERY spellcaster, not just INT and CHA based ones.

Feeblemind wrote:

Target creature's Intelligence and Charisma scores each drop to 1. The affected creature is unable to use Intelligence- or Charisma-based skills, cast spells, understand language, or communicate coherently. Still, it knows who its friends are and can follow them and even protect them. The subject remains in this state until a heal, limited wish, miracle, or wish spell is used to cancel the effect of the feeblemind. A creature that can cast arcane spells, such as a sorcerer or a wizard, takes a –4 penalty on its saving throw.[/b]


Wizards are better overall, but I still like sorcerers better. In the end if a player knows the game well it won't really matter a whole lot.


Arcanists are a thing. How has this not been mentioned yet?

Shadow Lodge

DominusMegadeus wrote:
To the first one, Sorcerers are given the short straw because the devs thought spontaneous casting would be too strong.

Of course, that doesn't explain why the devs also give wizurds so many options to cast spontaneously from their entire range of spells known / in their spellbook.

Shadow Lodge

Neo2151 wrote:
Arcanists are a thing. How has this not been mentioned yet?

I think it's likely because Pathfinder has added so many classes that people aren't bothering to keep up with the newer ones anymore.


Kthulhu wrote:
Neo2151 wrote:
Arcanists are a thing. How has this not been mentioned yet?
I think it's likely because Pathfinder has added so many classes that people aren't bothering to keep up with the newer ones anymore.

I like that better than the power creep of Prestige classes in 3.5.

It was awful that characters stayed in the original class only long enough to prestige into something else and never return. You just kept taking prestige class after prestige class that helped advanced whatever you cared about carving your character into a fine spear point of destructive optimization.


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I think wizards are better.

Levels 3,5,7,9,11,13,15,and 17 are really freaking painful as an Oracle, I don't even want to think about being a 2+ skill point class with this spell progression (oracle has a worse list but faster bonus spells.)

For every time someone spammed something like dispel magic to save the day there are at least 10 times someone ended an encounter with a highest possible level spell.

I know it is only my experience but it holds true over the 15 years spontaneous casters have been a thing.

Not having 3rd level spells at 5th level means you are as potent as a 6/9 caster.

Not having 4th level spells at 7th level means you are as potent as a 6/9 caster.

A sorcerer doesn't even pull ahead of a bard for good until 8th level. A Wizard has been ahead since level 5. Both a wizard and a bard have better skill points than any but a Sage Wildblooded sorcerer.

The combination of lacking skills and delayed spell progression leads me to conclude that I might rather play a bard than a wizard, but the vast majority of concepts I have would do best to only use sorcerer as a dipping class if at all.

PS: Sorcerer is very, very front loaded. There is a reason Crossblooded Sorcerer 1/Wizard 19 is a thing, even with Arcanist trying to fill that niche.


My current campaign demonstrates perfectly how wizards and sorcs are both great but different to the point where you can't say one is 'better'.

Last session we came across a rope bridge which had been cut to impede our progress. My level 4 wizard has the exploiter archetype, meaning I can pull any spell from my spellbook into an prepared slot in 6 seconds. With a combination of levitate and unseen servant, I floated a strong party member across the ravine while carrying the rope bridge, whereupon he repaired it on the opposite side and we crossed.

Right after we crossed the bridge we were ambushed. My wizard dove for cover under the wagon and spent his turns shouting insults to the enemy (as most of my spell slots were spent solving puzzles), while our sorc turned them to ash with ease.

The point being this: wizards can bring in utility spells to solve challenges which would daunt a sorc, but a sorc can fling death all day. They both have a place in a well-rounded party and don't need to step on each other's toes at all.


It depends on the DM alot.

Like some people have said, each have there strengths and weakness. By the book, i think the wizard pulls out a little ahead, by design.

BUT !!

If you have a DM, who does a lot of prisoner, group gets captured and imprisoned, spell book vulnerable to fire/water/bookworms, or even a Low magic world were spells/magic items are rare .... Well then the Sorcerer will pull out ahead.... sometime Way Ahead.

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