How are sorcerer-kings even a thing?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


As far as I can see, one of the only benefits that sorcerers have over wizards and arcanists when it comes to being an emperor are their higher Charisma scores, which make them much better at the Ruler role in the kingdom-building rules.

When it comes to the incredibly complicated task of running a state, flexibility and problem-solving skills are of paramount importance.

Note that a 200-hex kingdom is equal in size to Slovenia or Costa Rica.

A half-elf who takes the human favored class bonus and learns the (nerfed) paragon surge spell is certainly in a better spot than most sorcerers, but any other race is at a significant disadvantage.

There are tools, of course, for sorcerers. At only 5,000 gp apiece, an emperor could stock a small closet with mnemonic vestments. The ring of spell knowledge and the page of spell knowledge also expand a sorcerer's repertoire.

Page of Spell Knowledge Abuse:
It's come to my attention that, as a wondrous item, the creator of the page of spell knowledge need not know the spell to be contained in the page for them to create it; they merely have a higher creation DC. While legal, this seems to go against the spirit of the rules. In fact, combining this with a ring of spell knowledge means that a sorcerer could theoretically gain access to any arcane spell of 3rd level or lower––including bard, magus, summoner, and witch spells––without recourse to any other character.

But the ring and the vestments require that the sorcerer have access to the spell from a scroll or spellbook. (Theoretically, I suppose, a sorcerer could use limited wish to duplicate a spell and teach it to the ring, but doing so is rather expensive). Thus, there is nothing they can learn that their court wizards/arcanists do not already know. In which case, why not just be a wizard/arcanist and skip the complicated and expensive item setup? (Again, apart from the higher Charisma giving better returns in the kingdom-building and Leadership departments.)

One thing that might explain the sorcerer-king trope (and especially why empires run by sorcerer-kings are often relics of the past) is the Wild Arcana archmage mythic path ability, but obviously not all mage-emperors can be mythic.

So how would a sorcerer ever run a country?

Silver Crusade

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... what does Class have to do with running a country?


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Rysky wrote:
... what does Class have to do with running a country?

...

Well, there's a nice political joke all polished and weaponized and ready to launch...


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Cole Deschain wrote:
Rysky wrote:
... what does Class have to do with running a country?

...

Well, there's a nice political joke all polished and weaponized and ready to launch...

...It's funny because it's true.

Silver Crusade

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>_>


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Rysky wrote:
... what does Class have to do with running a country?

People tend to listen to classy people, I guess?


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Yeah, not touching that.

But, the thing with being a ruler is instead of relying on "I have a spell for that", like Wizards do...you run on "I have a guy for that". Delegation is the key to success.

Your high Charisma and status as ruler means that you have your ow personal power, and the combined power of all your followers. Including any other Wizards or Sorcerers in the nation. And the Cha helps in convincing them or any powerful adventuring groups to help you.


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Yea... I don't get it. I didn't see a single thing in your post explaining why a sorcerer wouldn't be a good leader.

Leadership feat, a handful of leadership boosting magic items, a strong charisma score, and at least mediocre intelligence (to invest in enough social skills) are all you need. I'd say bards make better leaders than sorcerers, but I see no reason why wizards or arcanists would be better than sorcerers.


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As an answer... "Why are sorcerer-kings a thing?"

Because rulership is a political position, not one based upon combat or magical statistics.

And because in English, tossing tabletop RPG character classes out the window, "sorcerer-king" has a long pedigree as the accepted shorthand for a king with some mojo.

How would a sorcerer run a country?

The same way a fighter would, or an Aristocrat, or a rogue, or a Barbarian, or a ranger.

Delegation.


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Yeah, if the king actually needs to go out and getting his hands dirty, something's already gone wrong. Important people don't go out into the field to do adventuring work: that's what minions are for.


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One thing it occurs to me: Unlike wizarding, Sorcery IS inheritable.

Cole Deschain wrote:

Because rulership is a political position, not one based upon combat or magical statistics.

I'm gonna be over here reading history and laughing like a hyena at this statement. How do you think anyone got to be king in the first place?


Yeah, "sorcerer kings" as a descriptor predate D&D I think, and I'm pretty sure the first ones to show up in D&D predate sorcerer as a class. The Dark Sun sorcerer-kings were epic level Wizard/Psychic Multiclasses. That said, sorcerers have a high charisma so they'd probably do pretty well as a king, fluffwise at least. They'd probably need more skill points.


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Sorcerer bloodlines and noble titles are also both hereditary. A wizard king would have to spend time training their heir in both magic and statecraft. A sorcerer's child will probably be born with magic, so they can focus their education on developing the skills that are needed to run a country, their magic coming relatively easily.


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Arbane the Terrible wrote:
I'm gonna be over here reading history and laughing like a hyena at this statement. How do you think anyone got to be king in the first place?

For every Charlemagne, I can give you a dozen Tsar Nicholas II examples.


High charisma, and the right selection of spells will handle most tasks of rulership. Problems that can be solved with subjects can be, with magic used to grease the skids. A basic focus on Enchantment in particular makes getting and holding onto the job much easier.

Of course being a human sorcerer wouldn't hurt either...


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Cole Deschain wrote:
Arbane the Terrible wrote:
I'm gonna be over here reading history and laughing like a hyena at this statement. How do you think anyone got to be king in the first place?
For every Charlemagne, I can give you a dozen Tsar Nicholas II examples.

and Charlemagne did nothing to conquer his kingship, he inherited it from his father Pippin the Short who had done the job of deposing the Merovingian king... that he did great during his reign is something else altogether...still managed to be outfoxed by the pope on Xmas night, 800AD.


Brew Bird wrote:
Sorcerer bloodlines and noble titles are also both hereditary. A wizard king would have to spend time training their heir in both magic and statecraft. A sorcerer's child will probably be born with magic, so they can focus their education on developing the skills that are needed to run a country, their magic coming relatively easily.

It's not clear that sorcerous bloodlines are that inheritable. It's not always a straight line with every ancestor and descendent having the bloodline. Alternately, they could inherit the power, but their talents could lead in a different direction entirely.

But mostly, charisma is at least as useful at taking and holding a throne as intelligence is and any high level character has access to the raw power.


Delegation ... I feel like the idea of some otherworldly intelligent super being who runs the entire kingdom on his low is a much less feasible idea than a simply reality altering caster who delegates ...


When somebody teleports onto you, you'd prefer still having combat options than having prepared all your slots for rulership duties.


Given that the general assumption is that a King is a member of an NPC aristocrat class, I can't see the point of this question.

Sorcers are clearly more suited for the job than wizards. They get Bluff as a class skill, and the Charisma to back it up. All you need to truly seal the deal is orange hair and small hands.


The people closest to earning the title sorcerer-king in D&D and variations are the sorcerer-kings of Athas. And they weren't even sorcerers.


Sissyl wrote:
The people closest to earning the title sorcerer-king in D&D and variations are the sorcerer-kings of Athas. And they weren't even sorcerers.

2e didn't HAVE sorcerers, except as something to call a wizard you didn't like.


High charisma to help ease tensions between the classes and territories subjugated. Legitimate and onjectively testable claims of holy descent and leadership by birthright. Leadership (feat) granted by some bloodlines which happen to make great leaders.

And of course, Disintegrate and a high bluff/intimidate for when everything else isn't working.


Wizards are smart enough to know that ultimate power can be had without sitting on a throne. Why do you think everyone loathes the evil vizier, the power behind the throne? He must have dumped charisma.

Or the wizards are just off in their towers, summoning otherworldly beings when they want to slack off and enjoying a lifestyle at least as pleasant as the kings but with less duties.


He has planar binding/greater planar binding and the resources of a kingdom to send outsiders to go solve problems in his kingdom and either oppress his people or endear him to them by sending demons or angels respectively.

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