Sorcerers are weird


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Something I'd been thinking about lately, during a break from my 'rebuilding the Cleric' project ... why do Sorcerers cast spells?

I'm not sure how they're supposed to have suddenly figured out words A,B and C and gesture D, sometimes combined with object (Focus) E results in a spell, somehow identical to those cast by everybody else.

It seems to me that innate power like that shouldn't require gestures or incantations or foci (at least PF gives 'em free Eschew Materials ... 'Why did you swallow a live spider?' 'I dunno, but watch me climb this wall!').

DSP's psionics feels like a much better fit for what the sorcerer is supposed to represent, or possibly the 3e Warlock, whose abilities were unlimited.

Anybody else ever felt a disconnect between the sorc's mechanics and what they're supposed to be?


The way a certain class uses magic in a fantasy game isn't real enough for you?

Sorcery is supposed to be inherited in this game according to the way I understand the whole bloodlines thing.

Mommy or daddy or grandmother's Grandpa used those gestures and words so much that you were born hardwired with the knowledge, I guess.


I suppose the word is 'verisimilitude'. It doesn't feel like the mechanics and flavor remotely line up.

I guess that 'instinctive knowledge' thing is about the best explanation I'm likely to get.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I view it more as a form of meditation. They have an inner ability to use the magic, it's just that the Sorcerer's components are more about focusing their mind than focusing the magic through the ingredients. The verbal component of a Fireball spell is a mantra that helps stoke the inner flame, while the somatic components are a particular stance that helps align the inner chakras.


Val'bryn2 wrote:
I view it more as a form of meditation. They have an inner ability to use the magic, it's just that the Sorcerer's components are more about focusing their mind than focusing the magic through the ingredients. The verbal component of a Fireball spell is a mantra that helps stoke the inner flame, while the somatic components are a particular stance that helps align the inner chakras.

But why are those the exact same words and gestures the wizard uses to cast a Fireball?

Why does a sorcerer need 250gp of granite and diamond dust to cast Stoneskin? How does he even know he needs it?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

In my mind sorcerers still 'learn' to an extent. Their innate bloodline gives them the 'power' to create a spell, but they still need to learn the words, gestures, etc. (This could also come asinstinctive knowledge of you like, but it is the 'fuel' for the spell that is most difficult to come by, not the words).

Of course this relates to how I view wizards memorization. It isn't that it takes them 15 minutes to recall 'Abracadabra + extend your middle finger + bat guano = Fireball' it is that they are actually storing the energy for the spell 'Fireball' in their mind, and those things will complete/release the spell. That is, in my opinion anyway, anyone can't just say those words, do the gesture at supply some dung to make a fireball happen.

This isn't 'canon' of course, but it makes sense, and ties back to the actual Vancian tradition that this sort of spell casting came from.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Actually, they don't have to be. There may be similarities based on the purpose of the components, but who says the same chant used by a wizard is the same as the sorcerer? Or that the dwarven wizard uses the same gestures as an elven trained mage?

As for the granite and diamond dust, you're talking higher end spells, that call for a bit more power than the caster himself can provide, so, since there is a sympathetic link between the material and the desired end, which they would have probably researched as they felt the dawning power in their blood.


You could make Sorcerer spells an SLA instead of a spell, but that alters balance quite a bit. You could ban them from any spell needing an expensive material component, and generally hack their spell list around so it's not exactly the same as Wizard. Scroll and wand use might need to change as well; perhaps they'd need to use UMD but get a fat bonus to UMD for anything on their spell list. It would certainly differentiate them from Wizards.

It can be done, but would need testing.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Another way of looking at it is that, perhaps, the reason why wizard spells and sorcerer spells are so similar is that wizards learned to ape the power of the sorcerer. The magic was originally the sorcerers, until some people managed to copy it and make it work.


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Short answer? Because that's how it worked in 3.5 :)

But yeah. Bloodlines are a good start, bit it feels a bit too wizardly to be a true magic-in-the-blood class. I'd say Kineticist nearly perfected the formula.


I always wanted to combine the spell power/supernatural focus of a kineticist with the bloodline power/theme of a sorcerer.


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Zhayne wrote:
Val'bryn2 wrote:
I view it more as a form of meditation. They have an inner ability to use the magic, it's just that the Sorcerer's components are more about focusing their mind than focusing the magic through the ingredients. The verbal component of a Fireball spell is a mantra that helps stoke the inner flame, while the somatic components are a particular stance that helps align the inner chakras.
But why are those the exact same words and gestures the wizard uses to cast a Fireball?

Who says they are? The way I see it, wizards from two different academics may use wildly different techniques, but the mechanical result is always basically the same. Maybe your sorcerer’s somatic component is him punching the air and his vocal is yelling “Fire” whereas the wizard does some complicated finger-wiggling and says “igneo oralas” but the final spells are mechanically the same.


Dαedαlus wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
Val'bryn2 wrote:
I view it more as a form of meditation. They have an inner ability to use the magic, it's just that the Sorcerer's components are more about focusing their mind than focusing the magic through the ingredients. The verbal component of a Fireball spell is a mantra that helps stoke the inner flame, while the somatic components are a particular stance that helps align the inner chakras.
But why are those the exact same words and gestures the wizard uses to cast a Fireball?
Who says they are? The way I see it, wizards from two different academics may use wildly different techniques, but the mechanical result is always basically the same. Maybe your sorcerer’s somatic component is him punching the air and his vocal is yelling “Fire” whereas the wizard does some complicated finger-wiggling and says “igneo oralas” but the final spells are mechanically the same.

The spellcraft skill says they are.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Actually, no it doesn't. It says you can ID the spell based on the components, but since there's the whole visual manifestation of the spell, it's more like you can identify the basic form of the spell. My way of play, those prepackaged spells are roughly the equivalent of a brand. Style brand, not arcane marking the cattle. Or a recipe. My recipe for spaghetti and your recipe are probably not the same, but we show the results to a third party, and they'll agree it's both spaghetti. Man, I love this thread. You're giving me some good inspiration for world building.


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The Spellcraft skill does not say they are always identical. XD You can identify a spell cast by a creature that only speaks Aklo and waves tentacles around, just as you can identify a spell cast by a four-limbed, three-fingered plant that speaks Sylvan, even if you don't speak those languages and don't physically resemble either creature.

There's no universal language of magic, and there are no universal gestures. I'm pretty sure this is to allow people to flavor their casters as they like, rather than being forced into a 'style' of casting they don't enjoy. XD You have to fulfill each component, but how exactly you do that is basically your choice.


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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I look at it this way. Give any two computer code developers the same requirement spec, and you'll get two different programs that do exactly the same thing. Heck, they may even be written in the same language, and do the same thing, but the internals will be different. Any OTHER programmer who examines the source will (eventually) be able to figure out what each of the first two programs does.

Similarly, wizard and sorcerer spells can do exactly the same things in an identifiable way, but still be different.


The same reason why a person might out loud and point to every object individually as they count it. It isn't necessary, but it helps you mentally keep track of things.

The somatics are likely easier to write off than the verbal components. Since the power is in their blood, it is likely tied up in various biological wirings, so the sorcerer pretty much 'has to' have the magic travel up their hand and then manually guide it afterwards.

I can understand your problem with verbal components- at the very least, consistent spell specific verbal components rather than simple mumbling of "burn, hotter, consume, destroy" (which sounds like it could be put on any damn fire spell).

I could write off the fact that sorcerers use the same somatic/verbal components as wizards- in fact, it might be the other way around. The wizards might have simply copied the sorcerers. The way I imagine magic developing is this: first, you had naturally magical creatures running about (like genies) that just used SLAs. Mortals couldn't copy this. Then, those magical creatures decided to flirt with mortals, and thus you had new born mortals with a thread of magic power- which they then had to find a way to turn into something they can use (thus the components after a long "how do I shot web" period). Later, other mortals mimicked these methods and started magic primitive magic systems that developed into things like wizardry- later, the wizards just routinely sought out sorcerers to study for new spells, and use that to then do further magic research.

This proposed history of magic obviously doesn't account from divine meddling with clerics... but I just assume gods just thought 'if I want a servant, I'll just make/find something naturally powerful', and they only started to try giving power to mortals after the primitive magics started.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
lemeres wrote:


This proposed history of magic obviously doesn't account from divine meddling with clerics... but I just assume gods just thought 'if I want a servant, I'll just make/find something naturally powerful', and they only started to try giving power to mortals after the primitive magics started.

Say, perhaps, that they originally had the powerful creatures like titans and dragons as their servants, they rebelled, seeing themselves less as servants, and more as allies and equals to the gods, then turning to the humanish races afterwards as something that lacks the hubris and natural lifespan to rise up as equals against the gods? I mean, if certain demigods were statted up as between CR 21-30, that's conveniently right in the area of titans and the greatest of dragons


Val'bryn2 wrote:
lemeres wrote:


This proposed history of magic obviously doesn't account from divine meddling with clerics... but I just assume gods just thought 'if I want a servant, I'll just make/find something naturally powerful', and they only started to try giving power to mortals after the primitive magics started.
Say, perhaps, that they originally had the powerful creatures like titans and dragons as their servants, they rebelled, seeing themselves less as servants, and more as allies and equals to the gods, then turning to the humanish races afterwards as something that lacks the hubris and natural lifespan to rise up as equals against the gods? I mean, if certain demigods were statted up as between CR 21-30, that's conveniently right in the area of titans and the greatest of dragons

Yeah. That would eventually be one of the incentives to switch to mortals, I am sure.

Even if gods started to try to make a mortal casting system early on, I think the sorcerer system would likely occur independently in different places and be more influential (since it mostly just requires some magically powerful creatures to flirt around; indiscretion spreads a lot faster than a god's personal side project).

Oracles likely came before clerics- the oracle class generally seems like something where a big wad of power was just shoved into a mortal head with little regard for what it might squish along the way. So that seems like what you would expect from early attempts to grant divine power to mortals: an act carried out with very little idea the side effects.

And honestly? Oracle spell casting doesn't seem like it would be wildly different from sorcerer spell casting- mostly just a mortal flailing around trying to figure out the power they have within their body. So it doesn't really change the course of my suggested 'history of mortal magic', even if it started with the gods first.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My own view of oracles is less power granted by a deity, and more power granted by a small group of deities who have a similar portfolio. If something's looking to create an endless winter type thing, Sarenrae and Asmodeus together might empower the Oracle of Flames, and they have to struggle with the fact that they might not keep the favor of both patrons.

Liberty's Edge

I've always imagined that the sorcerer makes magic happen by sheer force of personality (charisma based). Magic things happen because she wills them to happen.


There is a lot of good theme and theory in this thread.


Theconiel wrote:
I've always imagined that the sorcerer makes magic happen by sheer force of personality (charisma based). Magic things happen because she wills them to happen.

Yeah, but they have all that blood line stuff. So I assume that they 'will' them to happen in the same way you 'will' you hand to move. But the hand works off of nerves and contracting muscles working with bones.

So I view it as sorcerers being born with 'parts' that provide functions that make interacting with magic itself the same as just reaching out your hand and grasping a tool.

They don't need fancy equations or power lent from some greater power- they just grab what they want with their own hands/ethereal mana tentacles (giving an image to the 'parts' they are born with; sometimes literal with aberrant bloodline).

For components... I suppose you need to stretch you arm out if you wish to use that hand... and when you move to grasp an object you might hear the pop as the stiff joints and knuckles crack.(Of course, this paragraph is just me making up BS to move back to the mechanical rules that require components. )


I imagine the progression of most sorceres as three step process.

First is discovery. For most sorcerers, they are born without exhibiting any magic abilities (just imagine what would happen to the mother if the child started using magic from her womb... ouch). Only at some point in their life the magic in their blood reveals itself, most often in an unctrolled burst.

Then there is control. Uncontrolled bursts of magic may repeat until the sorcerer learns to control. Until they obtain control they cannoct direct they power, and while its effects may be spectacular, they can harm the user just as likely as everyone around. The control doesn't come from study as in the case of wizards, but from emotions and willpower.

Once they have their power in check, so much that that they can do it subconsciously and even in their sleep (literally), they can practice releasing it in a directed way. It is a long process, and sorcerer needs to start from producing cantrips and low-level spells before he can reliably produce any stronger effects. Gestures, words and focuses are the triggers that help the sorcerer to get in the right mental state to produce just the right effect. They don't have to be the same as those of wizards', but they can - if a sorcerer has some knowledge of spellcraft, then learning specific components become intuitively associated with specific spells.


Zhayne wrote:
But why are those the exact same words and gestures the wizard uses to cast a Fireball?

They are?


lemeres wrote:
Val'bryn2 wrote:
lemeres wrote:


This proposed history of magic obviously doesn't account from divine meddling with clerics... but I just assume gods just thought 'if I want a servant, I'll just make/find something naturally powerful', and they only started to try giving power to mortals after the primitive magics started.
Say, perhaps, that they originally had the powerful creatures like titans and dragons as their servants, they rebelled, seeing themselves less as servants, and more as allies and equals to the gods, then turning to the humanish races afterwards as something that lacks the hubris and natural lifespan to rise up as equals against the gods? I mean, if certain demigods were statted up as between CR 21-30, that's conveniently right in the area of titans and the greatest of dragons

Yeah. That would eventually be one of the incentives to switch to mortals, I am sure.

Even if gods started to try to make a mortal casting system early on, I think the sorcerer system would likely occur independently in different places and be more influential (since it mostly just requires some magically powerful creatures to flirt around; indiscretion spreads a lot faster than a god's personal side project).

Oracles likely came before clerics- the oracle class generally seems like something where a big wad of power was just shoved into a mortal head with little regard for what it might squish along the way. So that seems like what you would expect from early attempts to grant divine power to mortals: an act carried out with very little idea the side effects.

And honestly? Oracle spell casting doesn't seem like it would be wildly different from sorcerer spell casting- mostly just a mortal flailing around trying to figure out the power they have within their body. So it doesn't really change the course of my suggested 'history of mortal magic', even if it started with the gods first.

basically, oracles are to clerics as sorcerers are to wizards. I can agree to this. Oracles didn't ask for their divine gift, just as sorcerers didn't ask for their arcane gift. Clerics have to kneel before their god and pray and pray and pray to get their spells (ask for it) just as wizards have to study and memorize and prepare their spells.

What about witches, arcanists, druids, etc.?


Druids are the Sorcerer/Oracle compared to Witches, maybe. Druids are part of nature, thus get nature's magic whether they want it or not, but Witches perverse nature's magic for their nefarious intentions.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Witches either make or inherit pacts with certain beings, or are otherwise "blessed". I see their origin as, really, equal parts arcane and divine. Arcanista have a touch of Magic in them, almost, but not quite, enough to make them sorcerers. So they study, they force the magic in their blood to react as they command rather than as it desires. Druids are, as I see it, a more primal cleric. As a cleric cam worship an ideology, so they do, and nature rewards them.


I've always imagined that druids and witches both have to undergo some sort of ritual or rite of passage in order to gain their magic. It doesn't come to them spontaneously, but rather they have to give up something of themselves in order to gain it. I feel the source is the same, but (like VoodistMonk) the difference is in intent; druids serve the source, witches take advantage of it.


Zhayne wrote:

Something I'd been thinking about lately, during a break from my 'rebuilding the Cleric' project ... why do Sorcerers cast spells?

I'm not sure how they're supposed to have suddenly figured out words A,B and C and gesture D, sometimes combined with object (Focus) E results in a spell, somehow identical to those cast by everybody else.

It seems to me that innate power like that shouldn't require gestures or incantations or foci (at least PF gives 'em free Eschew Materials ... 'Why did you swallow a live spider?' 'I dunno, but watch me climb this wall!').

DSP's psionics feels like a much better fit for what the sorcerer is supposed to represent, or possibly the 3e Warlock, whose abilities were unlimited.

Anybody else ever felt a disconnect between the sorc's mechanics and what they're supposed to be?

I always felt like sorcerer would have been better represented by the power point system also. That used to come up a lot when psionics was a heavily debated topic on these boards.


wraithstrike wrote:
Zhayne wrote:

Something I'd been thinking about lately, during a break from my 'rebuilding the Cleric' project ... why do Sorcerers cast spells?

I'm not sure how they're supposed to have suddenly figured out words A,B and C and gesture D, sometimes combined with object (Focus) E results in a spell, somehow identical to those cast by everybody else.

It seems to me that innate power like that shouldn't require gestures or incantations or foci (at least PF gives 'em free Eschew Materials ... 'Why did you swallow a live spider?' 'I dunno, but watch me climb this wall!').

DSP's psionics feels like a much better fit for what the sorcerer is supposed to represent, or possibly the 3e Warlock, whose abilities were unlimited.

Anybody else ever felt a disconnect between the sorc's mechanics and what they're supposed to be?

I always felt like sorcerer would have been better represented by the power point system also. That used to come up a lot when psionics was a heavily debated topic on these boards.

I feel sorcerers and bards could both be refit to psychic/psionic magic easily. The latter for the focus on mind-affecting effects.

Dark Archive

Rub-Eta wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
But why are those the exact same words and gestures the wizard uses to cast a Fireball?
They are?

The fact that there isn't any sort of Spellcraft DC modifier to tell what spell someone is casting (to counterspell it, for example) whether it's cast by a Wizard or a Sorcerer (or a Witch, etc.) suggests that there is no difference in somatic or verbal components.

Doesn't matter if the person casting the magic missile spell is a kobold sorcerer with draconic blood who just learned the magic inherently, or a witch whose patron taught it to her, or a wizard trained in the Magaambya school, the verbal and somatic components are going to be the same.

And that's pretty much the why of it, IMO. Having every spellcasting tradition use it's own words and gestures would make Spellcraft checks to tell what's being cast even more cumbersome and fussy to adjudicate. Instead, there's just one set of words and gestures to make these things happen.

Ditto for clerics and oracles. Doesn't matter if your divine magic came from training in a temple of an evil god or a good god, a demon lord or an empyreal or a great old one from the dark spaces between the stars, or if you just woke up with a curse and an oracle mystery one day, cure light wounds is going to require the same words and gestures to conjure.

I tend to see magic as a set of program codes to the universe, leftover tools by whatever forces created the universe. Some primordial god said 'let there be light,' and by attempting to replicate that feat, clerics and wizards can cast the light or daylight spells, which is about as close as they can get to the language of creation itself. They might learn those 'cheat codes to life' through study and rote, or have them handed down to them by supernatural forces (such as a witches patron or a clerics deity), or just be able to instinctively 'feel' them through an oracular mystery or sorcerous bloodline, but the cheat code remains the same. These words and gestures make light. These words and gestures cure wounds. These words and gestures summon extraplanar monsters...

But that's just my fanwank. The 'real' reason is likely just to avoid the mess that would result from every magical school and tradition, or church and temple, from having their own 'magical language' for these things, and how it would complicate stuff like Spellcraft, counterspelling, scroll use and wizards copying spells out of each others books.


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It makes as much sense as spiders being born knowing enough geometry to be able to spin a web without being taught.


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Set wrote:

The fact that there isn't any sort of Spellcraft DC modifier to tell what spell someone is casting (to counterspell it, for example) whether it's cast by a Wizard or a Sorcerer (or a Witch, etc.) suggests that there is no difference in somatic or verbal components.

Doesn't matter if the person casting the magic missile spell is a kobold sorcerer with draconic blood who just learned the magic inherently, or a witch whose patron taught it to her, or a wizard trained in the Magaambya school, the verbal and somatic components are going to be the same.

I don't believe that a creature with no arms and a serpentine tongue is going to use the exact same verbal and somatic components as a human. But Spellcraft still works on weird creatures. This may be because you're not identifying the components, you're identifying the Manifestations. The gestures aren't the same but the magic sparkles are.


Personally thought and emotion makes more sense then verbal and somatic for sorcerers.


Set wrote:
Rub-Eta wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
But why are those the exact same words and gestures the wizard uses to cast a Fireball?
They are?

The fact that there isn't any sort of Spellcraft DC modifier to tell what spell someone is casting (to counterspell it, for example) whether it's cast by a Wizard or a Sorcerer (or a Witch, etc.) suggests that there is no difference in somatic or verbal components.

But that's just my fanwank. The 'real' reason is likely just to avoid the mess that would result from every magical school and tradition, or church and temple, from having their own 'magical language' for these things, and how it would complicate stuff like Spellcraft, counterspelling, scroll use and wizards copying spells out of each others books.

Setting aside the practical problems with different appendages for identical somatic components, which suggests the Spellcraft skill uses manifestations of the spell instead of the exact behavior of the caster, the game already explicitly gives each wizard their own magical language which complicates stuff like copying spells out of each others book.

"To record an arcane spell in written form, a character uses complex notation that describes the magical forces involved in the spell. The writer uses the same system no matter what her native language or culture. However, each character uses the system in his own way. Another person’s magical writing remains incomprehensible to even the most powerful wizard until he takes time to study and decipher it.

To decipher an arcane magical writing (such as a single spell in another’s spellbook or on a scroll), a character must make a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the spell’s level). If the skill check fails, the character cannot attempt to read that particular spell again until the next day. A read magic spell automatically deciphers magical writing without a skill check. If the person who created the magical writing is on hand to help the reader, success is also automatic."


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Actually the fact you have to make the spell craft roll supports the fact that the gestures and incantations are not the same. If all casters use the same gestures and incantations why do you need to make a roll to identify a spell you know?

Take a wizard and sorcerer both know fire ball. They are both part of a party and the two parties encounter each other in a hostile situation. Both spell casters decided to use fireball on the opposing team. Both characters can easily see and hear the other. The rules state if they make a spell craft roll they can identify the spell being cast. If they are using the same gestures and incantations why is a roll needed? If they are using the same words and gestures I would think they do not have to make a roll to recognize that they are both doing the same thing.

So the sorcerer fails his spell craft roll, but the wizard makes it (probably due to having a better INT). So the wizard knows what the sorcerer is casting, but the sorcerer does not know what the wizard is casting. To further muck up things the cleric on the sorcerer’s team make his spell craft roll. So the sorcerer’s buddy who does not know how to cast fireball knows what the wizard is casting even though the sorcerer who is casting the exact same spell does not.


Set wrote:
Rub-Eta wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
But why are those the exact same words and gestures the wizard uses to cast a Fireball?
They are?

The fact that there isn't any sort of Spellcraft DC modifier to tell what spell someone is casting (to counterspell it, for example) whether it's cast by a Wizard or a Sorcerer (or a Witch, etc.) suggests that there is no difference in somatic or verbal components.

Beyond what everyone else already stated, you don't need to see components in order to use Spellcraft or to counterspell. A still, silent spell is just as identifiable and counterable as one with all components, or a psychic spell with no detectable components. It's the "manifestations" (the glowing lights in spell art) that are somewhat standardized and able to be recognized with sufficient skill), not the words and gestures.


VoodistMonk wrote:
Druids are the Sorcerer/Oracle compared to Witches, maybe. Druids are part of nature, thus get nature's magic whether they want it or not, but Witches perverse nature's magic for their nefarious intentions.

Yeah, but druids are a wisdom casting class with rules that can make them 'exdruids'- I feel like they might be the kind that commune with natural forces to draw their power from (And if those natural forces get moody, then no power for them).

Which means that they needed to learn the forces are there and that they can be tapped. So I think it might have been a tradition that was 'developed'. As in a tradition discovered over time, rather in the single generation required after a genie gets flirty.

Of course, this druid discussion all assumes that the fey didn't just sneak in and mess things up. Which is a distinct possibility.

Witches are likely in a similar position to clerics- they are offered power by a higher being. So they only came about when the higher being actually bothered to even consider mortals as possible casters.

Arcanists... are just sorcerers with a wizardry degree.


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Well you know maybe it's a muscle memory thing. If you learn to ride a bike once you can ride it forever. (I personally do not, but, eh.)

It's just they never learned it in the first place, and it comes to them in a really weird and strange way. Like Cthulhu teaching words to artistic cultists in their dreams.

It's an instinct, as natural as ducking, or shouting, or laughing. It just has more explosions attached.


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Ok, let me give you my humble opinion about sorcerers.

------------------

Pathfinder is a game that originates from D&D, which is mostly based, when it comes to roleplaying "why-and-hows" to the lore of the Forgotten Realms.

In that campaign setting, the arcane magic itself is something that is normaly impossible to use for mundane mortal races.
Dragons and Gods can use it naturaly, but say, an human, lacks the ability to manipulating the raw magical energy to actualy craft a spell from it.

Then, comes Mystril/Mystra, goddess of Magic: She thinks that magic is something so great and marvelous that ANY sentient being willing to invest some effort into it should be allowed to use magic... so, what she did?
She created the Weave, a mystical ultra-collosal ethereal construct stored in her own divine plane, that serve as a giant system that any sentient being can use to canalise the natural magic energy.

That is Forgotten Realms basic lore about arcane magic, so far.

Now, about what it implies:

Wizards are people, normaly unbale to use the raw magic energy, and who learned to use the Weave insted.
They study/studied it, and they wrote all their knowledge about the it into their "spellbook".
Every morning, they use that knowledge to manipulate the Weave and make the mystical construct of the godess of magic draw, prepare and store a given amount of magic energy, in a way that is convenient for a "mundane" spellcaster to use it.
By the very nature of the Weave, and the will of Mystril/Mystra, only the one that did the manipulation can retrieve and use the stored energy after this.

On their side, Sorcerers have inherited from a supernatural creature some or all of its ability to naturaly draw and shape the natural magical energy directly, without the Weave.
They do not exactly know how. That's like if you asked them "how do you breath?". They just do it instinctivly, and can shape the energy in a way its convenient for a given number of spells.
Their body continuously draw from the natural energy, so much than most of them discover their nature when the unused energy starts to overflow from them, causing havoc: more than one sorcerer lost his family because they triggered a fire in their sleep, and ravaged the family house.
Neverless, they can shape the energy store within their bodies anytime they want in a given set of forms proper to cast some given spells.

HOWEVER, no matter where the energy is stored and when it is shaped... Shaped energy is still not a "spell": That's like putting the right kind of gaz into your car... you still need to drive that car it if you want to go somewhere with it.
And "Driving" in that case is "casting". You pick the store energy, then you guide it through an incantation and gestures and extra if needed, and it result a spell effect from it.

Sorcerer DO, in fact, learn spells incantations and gestures, they just do not have to learn to use the Weave.
They mostly learn the spellcasting by trial and error, because they FEEL they have the power within them, that it needs to be used, and just lack the proper way to express it at first.
Always in FR's lore, sorcerers start to realize their power when the unused energy their bodies naturaly draw start to overflows, causing havoc by triggering random magical events around him... so learning to use it is almost a matter of survival.
They will often isolate themselves in a seculated place to perform tests until they find the RIGHT incantation and gesture to use the energy shapes they instinctivly can create.

The incantation and gestures are the same for wizards and sorcerers simply because the mix of energy shape, the incantation and gesture is actualy what DEFINE the spell.
Obtaining the energy charge differently do not change anything to how a spell must be cast after that: if you use a different incantation, then it result in a different spell, at best, an in a failure, most often of the times (not the right energy shape for that incantation).

Some weak sorcerers actualy recieve some support of Mystra through the Weave without knowing it, but they still do instinctively 90% of the process, so they don't have to study the weave itself.
You can't differenciate a pure sorcerer than a weak one unless you destroy the Weave (something that happened once in the FR lore, resulting in the shutdown of almost all arcane magic for player races... but it was rebuilt after)

----------

Still reading? Seriously?
Wow.

Ok, so now, you'll tell me: "but Pathfinder is not D&D !"
Right, Mystra and the Weave do not exist in any campaign setting of Pathfinder... but the Sorcerer class is still copied from the D20 system which is an extract from D&D which is justified by the Forgotten Ream lore

That make the Sorcerer class a class that have a mechanic for which the lore was not truly imported into Pathfinder. Mystra and the Weave are simply copyrighted by Wizards of the Coast.

In Pathfinder, there is no official explanation of Wizard/Sorcerers magic mechanic... but we can extrapolate one similar:

- Wizards do not know how to "shape" the energy instinctively. They study all their life to find formulae to shape it artificialy through a long "preparation" proceess, and store the shaped charges in their bodies (instead of the weave)
- Sorcerers still "shape" the energy at will. They store the enery charges in a "formless" way until they need it
Casting a spell from the shaped energy is still the same -> Problem solved :)

That unofficial explanation restore the justication of all the arcane magic mojo in a similar way of the true origin of the sorcerer class, without using the copyrighted words of "Mystra" or "Weave"
You can now return to a normal roleplaying without asking brainshaking questions again :p


The problem with this argument is that the sorcerer was created for 3.0, which (sorta) had Greyhawk as its default setting, not FR. FR simply added lore that justified the existence of a new set of rules in one way.

You'd be better off saying that Mystara, which barely had any support past BECMI, had the sorcerer pre-empted in that you had a continent of people with innate magical powers - it's just that with only the Magic-User class available, there was no mechanical difference between people who studied hard and people who were born with the talent.

Scarab Sages

Maybe, for a sorcerer, magic is so intuitive that they don't need to learn how these spells work; they simply understand them. When your sorcerer pulls out some guano to cast Fireball, if you ask him about it afterwords he may not really know the answer. "What do you mean? I don't know the chemical properties of bat guano, or what it has to do with fire. But how else are you going to make a fireball? Sheer willpower? This isn't some fantasy land, y'know."

For a sorcerer, there's nothing to "learn" necessarily, it's just that the magic they cast they simply understand. It's a bit like proper breathing: very few people do it, but once you've learned to it's second nature. There's nothing weird to a sorcerer about swallowing a live spider to cast Spider Climb. That's just how magic works. It's not rocket science.

Grand Lodge

Greyhawk is and has been the default setting since 2nd Ed at least, and FR has NEVER been the default setting. Sorcerers came out of a desire to emulate magic users in many settings who do not study or prepare spells, who have no book learning and have access to innate magic as opposed to mastery over the written word. How do they figure out gesture A, Motion B, and thought C makes a spell? They don't figure it out, they don't study, they just know. In Pathfinder the magic is literally in the Sorcerer's Blood.


Forgotten Realms seems like the nearest thing to a default setting for 5e; the rulebook doesn't assume it, but almost all the published adventures are set there.

Grand Lodge

Ah, I didn't think of 5e, as I have never played it. I read the PHB and Noped out on my local group that was into it. As far as Pathfinder coming from D&D and that being based on FR, Pathfinder and its version of sorcerer, split long before 5e was ever considered. The rest of Moonheart's post flows from the mistaken idea that PF has any real relationship to FR; if PF was related to any of the D&D settings it is most definitely Eberron. The Sorcerer was 3.0 material, written (just guessing here, but fits the facts) to emulate many many many fantasy novels where "accidental" spellcasters existed, something you can't really have in D&D's wizardry system.


You know, that's not the point of the debate, either, to know which setting is "default".
I just say that the explanation of how sorcerer magic work can be found in FR. Perhaps there is a convaincing explanation in Greyhawk too... I do not know, nor I care, as it doesn't make the topic of this thread progress much to ask this.

On a more pragmatical field, sorcerers aren't more "weird" than divine spellcasters: the author would have asked the same way: "they recieve spells by their deity (or mother nature, for druid/ranger), so why do they need to do incantations and gestures, and why those are the same than for arcane spellcasters, when those are spell both kind of magic can produce?"

-----

My feeling is that the right answer is that casting a spell is like pottery. To do pottery, you must first:
1- You need to extract ceramic (like clay) from somewhere
2- Shape the ceramic into the proper form
3- Fire it

In case of spell casting, the "ceramic" is the "magical energy" itself, and the act of firing is to perform the ritual involving gestures, incantantion and possible components for it.
The act of shaping the energy is truly harder than to fire it, and most mortals cannot do it simply... while almost all mortals can fire it with some proper instructions and learning.

Case 1: Divine spellcasters
The gods are the ones doing the hard process to shape the energy for their followers.
Then, they grant them shaped charges of energy during the prayer time, and all the followers have to do is to fire them when they need the spells.
The energy is so amazingly well prepared (that's a god who prepared it, heh) that you don't even need to be perfect on the gestures when you fire the spell... that's why you can do it without being bothered by the armor you're wearing.

Case 2: Wizard
Wizard shape the energy themselves, but such a complex thing can only be done with a lot of concentration, peace and support of their spellbooks. They do it in the morning when they have their minds rested, and store the prepared energy charges within them.
All they need after that is to fire their preparations.

Case 3: Spontaneous spellcasters
They extract and shape the energy directly "on the moment", instinctively. That's only possible because they have the support of their surnatural blood, awaken withing them.
The extraction and shaping is done exactly at the moment they decide to fire it.

Without the proper preparation and the proper ritual, a spell fail, exactly like pottery requiers both a coherent prepration of the ceramic and the right baking.
So, no matter who "prepared" the magical energy you use and how (your god or yourself, by complex preparations or just instinctively), the firing process is still the same for any kind of spellcaster that want to perform a given spell.

That explain that everyone need the same gestures and incantation for spells.

(Note: I don't speak of psychic spellcasters here, because they are whole different animals, their way to do magic is more like: "I order mentally to the clay to become pottery, and the ceramic just obeys"
You know, like Chuck Norris does magic...)


Quintin Verassi wrote:
Greyhawk is and has been the default setting since 2nd Ed at least, and FR has NEVER been the default setting. Sorcerers came out of a desire to emulate magic users in many settings who do not study or prepare spells, who have no book learning and have access to innate magic as opposed to mastery over the written word. How do they figure out gesture A, Motion B, and thought C makes a spell? They don't figure it out, they don't study, they just know. In Pathfinder the magic is literally in the Sorcerer's Blood.

Greyhawk was Gary Gygax's original campaign, back even when D&D was not Advanced yet, as for the Forgettable Realms, they are definitely the baseline setting in ed 4 and 5... ed 3.xx is weird, as it uses deities from the Greyhawk setting as the core system examples, butpublished damn little material for greyhawk in 3.0, and none in 3.5. As for ed 2, greyhawk was no longer the baseline setting either, they rolled that one out with the clear objective of getting anything authored by Gygax out of print, but ed 2 did not have a real baseline setting, there was a lot of FR material, but they multiplied the possible settings, like Dragonlance, Ravenloft, Planescape, Spelljammer.... and I must be forgetting some.

Solrcerers , to me, are a total weird novelty that arrived in 3.0... the concept of innate magic users had previously not been part of the D&D lore

Dark Archive

Quintin Verassi wrote:
Sorcerers came out of a desire to emulate magic users in many settings who do not study or prepare spells, who have no book learning and have access to innate magic as opposed to mastery over the written word.

[tangent] As someone who played a lot of 'magic-users' in 1st edition, I felt like sorcerers existed solely to deprive my characters of spellbooks as treasure, since 'bad-guy' spellcasters now all seemed to be sorcerers now. :) [/tangent]

Anywho, lot's of good thoughts about spell manifestations being more relevant to the Spellcraft checks than verbal or somatic components, which may or may not even exist, for a naga sorcerer or person using Still or Silent Spell feats. Interesting stuff.


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As someone who played a lot of magic users since the 1st, I felt sorcerers exist because at least a decent part of the game designers felt, like me, that trying to guess which spells could be useful in the next 24h was a mechanic annoying as hell.

"Oh sorry party, could we stop traveling for today? It seems we enter a land with potential elemental being living there... so I want to change half my prepared spells.
Also, can you all go to drink a coffee, while I browse all the spell list I have to figure which ones I'll prepare?
Promise, it should take me less than 15mn... well, perhaps half-an-hour if I start to overthink it... I'll do my best to make it short, but just in case, you should take some comics with you..."

I never played a non-spontaneous spellcaster since the sorcerer class appeared... and never looked back either.

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