A suggested Sorcerer reconcept.


Classes


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The Sorcerer desperately needs to be reconcepted, because the other casting classes are eating its lunch. It needs a core identity of its own, and its abilities need to be powered up to compare against the other classes. As much as many of us would like to see it folded with the Kineticist or Magus it's pretty obvious Paizo won't even consider that. So I've summed up some changes I think would help the Sorcerer stand out and find its way, in a way I think they might at least consider. I feel this would make it solid enough to remain competitive even if they do what's right and give all the prepared casters a version of Arcanist casting, to finally put the anti-fun headache of pure Vancian in the grave where it belongs.

Basic Traits and Proficiencies
A moderate change: the Sorcerer should be proficient in light armor and should have 8 HP per level, the same as the Bard. The Sorcerer doesn't cloister themselves away in study and instead goes about the world using their innate power, so shouldn't be as squishy as the Wizard.

Spell List
A big change: the spell list granted by the bloodline should be in addition to the Arcane list. All Sorcerers are rooted in Arcane, but gain the flexibility to mix and match their spell repertoire between Arcane and another list as determined by their heritage.

Of the current bloodlines, I would assign Divine to Celestial and Diabolic; Occult to Aberrant and Demonic; and Primal to Draconic and Fey. Imperial would get the special trait of only being Arcane, but learning 1 extra spell per level.

Skills
A minor side effect of the above: the bonus skills shift slightly according to each bloodline's new spell list.

Expanded Bloodline Thematics
A minor change: the Sorcerer should be granted the language associated with their bloodline as a bonus language.

They could also get a small bonus to all checks (including AC since that's weirdly defined as a check in PF2) against creatures sharing their heritage. Alternately to the more universal bonus, just make it being able to roll twice on Recall Knowledge checks with relation to creatures of the relevant type.

I consider these minor benefit that shouldn't cost a feat, since it's the sort of thing that usually only comes up once a level most of the time, if that. However, it is very flavorful, and evokes that specialness of inborn traits in fantasy like Parseltongue.

Imperial would need a different minor benefit because obviously "humanoid" is too broad and powerful compared to the other options. An extra skill / skill feat would probably be appropriate, representing humanoid flexibility and specifically that of the ancient human / Azlanti mage lords implied to be the root of the bloodline.

Bloodline Passives
A moderate change: when you feat into a new bloodline power, it should also come with an ability that you always have and don't have to spend spell points on like the power itself does. This helps represent more of that heritage coming through as you magically and spiritually evolve closer to and resonate with your heritage. It also helps make up for sorcerer powers not really being the best, something I don't see changing, as much I'd hope otherwise.

Weaker or more situational powers can be balanced by getting a stronger passive that is useful more of the time.

Spellcasting
The biggest change: the Sorcerer only accumulates new spell slots up to third tier. After this point, at 7th level and every 2 levels thereafter, when the Sorcerer gains a new spell tier, they shift all their spell slots up a tier. So a 7th level Sorcerer has only 2nd tier, 3rd tier, and 4th tier spell slots. They have a good number of spell slots, but not the vast quantity belonging to a prepared caster.

As usual for every spellcaster, a spell slot of any given tier can be used to cast a lower tier spell.

All spells the Sorcerer casts are heightened to the spell slot from which they are cast.

Cantrips
Continuing the biggest change: the Sorcerer only gains or elevates spell slots at odd levels. At even levels, the Sorcerer gains an additional cantrip and 1 spell point.

The Sorcerer can spend 1 spell point when casting a cantrip to heighten it to 2 spell tiers higher than they could currently cast, because cantrips all seem to heighten at every other tier instead of every tier. So, our 7th level Sorcerer from before (4th tier spells) can spend 1 spell point to cast a cantrip at 6th tier.

As a consequence, because the Sorcerer can access any spell list, all cantrips on all spell lists are published with heightening options up to 12th tier.

This Sorcerer's vast number of cantrips and huge capacity for spell point powers, and ability to over-heighten their cantrips, help make up for their lower number of spell slots. This also gives them a vastly different feel than every other spellcasting class, setting them apart as their own playstyle. :)


These changes seem very complicated, and I don't believe something so drastic is necessary, even though I would also like to see the sorcerer absorb/become the kineticist.

The key problem Sorcerers have is the same one Wizards have: they have too few resources at low levels. Sorcerers and Wizards get 4 spell slots per spell level, at low levels this does not have nearly the effect it does at high levels, because you have way less spell levels to get bonus spell slots from. Spell points and powers to not have enough effect to give them meaningful resources at low level.

Giving Sorcerers and Wizards a pool of uses of new ability that's based of another Ability Score would help balance them in comparison to other classes at low level. If lower level spells had less of an effect at high levels this would help balance casters in comparison to martials at high levels (this is true for lots of spells, but not buff or debuff spells)

More details on this issue.


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I do however agree with the light armour, and the d8 is something I did propose in the past - would do a lot if Sorcerer wanted to be more gish-oriented.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:

Basic Traits and Proficiencies

A moderate change: the Sorcerer should be proficient in light armor and should have 8 HP per level, the same as the Bard. The Sorcerer doesn't cloister themselves away in study and instead goes about the world using their innate power, so shouldn't be as squishy as the Wizard.

I completly agree, even the concept of bloodlines itself suggests a way more "bodily" magic which in itself could be a reason for toughness.

Fuzzypaws wrote:

Spell List

A big change: the spell list granted by the bloodline should be in addition to the Arcane list. All Sorcerers are rooted in Arcane, but gain the flexibility to mix and match their spell repertoire between Arcane and another list as determined by their heritage.

This doesn't really help with identity. It adds flexibility but at the cost of structure and overview.

Fuzzypaws wrote:

Expanded Bloodline Thematics

A minor change: the Sorcerer should be granted the language associated with their bloodline as a bonus language.

They could also get a small bonus to all checks (including AC since that's weirdly defined as a check in PF2) against creatures sharing their heritage. Alternately to the more universal bonus, just make it being able to roll twice on Recall Knowledge checks with relation to creatures of the relevant type.

I consider these minor benefit that shouldn't cost a feat, since it's the sort of thing that usually only comes up once a level most of the time, if that. However, it is very flavorful, and evokes that specialness of inborn traits in fantasy like Parseltongue.

Imperial would need a different minor benefit because obviously "humanoid" is too broad and powerful compared to the other options. An extra skill / skill feat would probably be appropriate, representing humanoid flexibility and specifically that of the ancient human / Azlanti mage lords implied to be the root of the bloodline.

A good idea, most of the relevant languages are already a bit of otherworldly. Its mechanicwise not that much of an impact but a lot of flavor. The minor advantage would need working and I wouldn't necessarily grant recall knowledge advantages. Since I feel a sorceror should study his bloodline and therefore be knowledgable.

Fuzzypaws wrote:

Bloodline Passives

A moderate change: when you feat into a new bloodline power, it should also come with an ability that you always have and don't have to spend spell points on like the power itself does. This helps represent more of that heritage coming through as you magically and spiritually evolve closer to and resonate with your heritage. It also helps make up for sorcerer powers not really being the best, something I don't see changing, as much I'd hope otherwise.

Weaker or more situational powers can be balanced by getting a stronger passive that is useful more of the time.

Yes, just yes. But also Sorcerors need real alternatives to bloodline powers. Maybe bloodline specific metamagic that applies conditions and buffs to make the spells used more in league with the bloodline (Harmful Aberration spells could apply sickened, draconic spells frightened and so on) or feats that allow them to generally act more like their progenitors (a feat that allows Divine sorcerors to apply positive energy to mundane healing, or aberration sorcerors to make untrained recall knowledge checks under the danger of taking wisdom damage).


I agree the sorcerer, and especially non-arcane sorcerers, need a big buff. I don't quite get what a spell "tier" is and I don't like what I think it means (losing low-level spell slots as you advance). The rest looks good.


I would love to see Light Armor proficiency & increase hit die. Other than that, I would be happy with just a handful more spell slots/day and the ability to spontaneously heighten a couple more spells. And a little more use out of familiars...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I agree the Sorcerer definitely needs something to balance it against other full casters.

  • 1. Independently of everything else, I think the divine spell list needs to be made more attractive compared to the other spell lists, in order to make the divine Sorcerers competitive with other kinds of Sorcerers.

  • 2. The idea of boosting Sorcerers by increasing armor proficiency, etc, is interesting. But I think ideally you want the Sorcerer to stack up against the wizard as a *spellcaster*. So this kind of change can’t do all the work.

  • 3. The idea of boosting the Sorcerer by boosting bloodline powers is also interesting, but hard to do. If they use spell points, then they need to be balanced, power-wise against everything else that uses spell points. That means that this is not going to be strong enough to bring them on a par with the Wizard, spellcasting-wise.

  • 4. The Sorcerer’s main defining feature is supposed to be it’s limited spontaneous heightening ability. Unlimited spontaneous heightening would change this, but the devs found that this leads to decision paralysis.

    One way to make the Sorcerer stand out is to allow it to use either spell points or a separate pool of points to spontaneously heighten/downcast spells. That combats decision paralysis because there’s a default spell level (whichever one they’ve learned) — heightening/downcasting is only something to consider if your default spell level isn’t appropriate.

  • 5. Alternatively, I also like is the OP’s suggestion about letting them select spells from other spell lists. That would also give them a distinctive *spellcasting* trick that no other class has. One spell per spell level would be enough, I think, to bring them up to par with the Wizard.


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    The limitation of class functionality for 'decision paralysis', I find frustrating. Give us more flexibility, let people learn what works, and they'll make quicker decisions. Let the GM encourage moving things along.


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    Yeah, I don't believe the analysis paralysis line for a second, unless the player was trying to figure out something that wouldn't straight-out suck. That's kinda hard to do in this edition.


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    sherlock1701 wrote:
    Yeah, I don't believe the analysis paralysis line for a second, unless the player was trying to figure out something that wouldn't straight-out suck. That's kinda hard to do in this edition.

    Too true.

    Its really not that hard to pick a spell ("oh, its weak to lightning, I cast lightning bolt" or "there's like six guys clustered together, I'm going to use fireball") and then a strength level ("they're pretty weak, lets use a 3rd level slot" or "it needs to die right now! 6th!")

    Its when you have to make choices between bad ("I have fireball heightened today, but there's only one big guy and he's resistant to fire!") and also bad ("Or I could hit him with a first level acid arrow...") that analysis paralysis sets in.


    Fuzzypaws wrote:

    The Sorcerer desperately needs to be reconcepted, because the other casting classes are eating its lunch. It needs a core identity of its own, and its abilities need to be powered up to compare against the other classes. As much as many of us would like to see it folded with the Kineticist or Magus it's pretty obvious Paizo won't even consider that. So I've summed up some changes I think would help the Sorcerer stand out and find its way, in a way I think they might at least consider. I feel this would make it solid enough to remain competitive even if they do what's right and give all the prepared casters a version of Arcanist casting, to finally put the anti-fun headache of pure Vancian in the grave where it belongs.

    Basic Traits and Proficiencies
    A moderate change: the Sorcerer should be proficient in light armor and should have 8 HP per level, the same as the Bard. The Sorcerer doesn't cloister themselves away in study and instead goes about the world using their innate power, so shouldn't be as squishy as the Wizard.

    Spell List
    A big change: the spell list granted by the bloodline should be in addition to the Arcane list. All Sorcerers are rooted in Arcane, but gain the flexibility to mix and match their spell repertoire between Arcane and another list as determined by their heritage.

    Of the current bloodlines, I would assign Divine to Celestial and Diabolic; Occult to Aberrant and Demonic; and Primal to Draconic and Fey. Imperial would get the special trait of only being Arcane, but learning 1 extra spell per level.

    Skills
    A minor side effect of the above: the bonus skills shift slightly according to each bloodline's new spell list.

    Expanded Bloodline Thematics
    A minor change: the Sorcerer should be granted the language associated with their bloodline as a bonus language.

    They could also get a small bonus to all checks (including AC since that's weirdly defined as a check in PF2) against creatures sharing their heritage. Alternately...

    I'm of the opinion that their proficiency lists should be a choice, much like their bloodlines (and by relation spell list) choice. They can start with the base D6, no armor and simple weapon only proficiency, but they get 3 "boosts" to use how they see fit. Proficiency in a specific martial weapon, going up a die size (to D12!), and going up an armor proficiency, each counts as one. Gaining shield proficiency counts as another, and being proficient in all martial weapons counts as two. This way, you can have a D8 Light Armor character proficient in a martial weapon as a basic standard, but for those who want the life pool, the higher armor, or the cool weapons, they'll compensate in other areas. It sounds complicated, but it's pretty simple in application.

    The spell splicing change sounds too broken in my opinion. Sorcerers aren't meant to be the versatile caster who can draw spells from multiple spell lists simultaneously. In fact, no class is ever meant to do that short of some Trick Magic Item shenanigans, in which case that's a whole other issue entirely (such as "What's the point when I don't have ranks/training in X skill"). The biggest problem is that Paizo is treating having a choice between all 4 spell lists as a strength when it's not like the Sorcerer can change their spell list at any point in time. (Crossblooded Archetype, hint hint.) Having flexibility in how you build means nothing when every sort of flexibility you have is actually outright weaker compared to other classes whom are dedicated to it (sans Wizard).

    I'm not really sure if Skills are something that need to be changed. I think that skills in general are too narrow unless you're a Rogue, and even then you only really have 3 usable skills by the endgame (or 6 if you're a Rogue), so it's not like having more trained skills or feats is worthwhile (or difficult to acquire).

    Being able to speak a language is hardly something that is born through bloodlines, it is acquired through personal syntax and understanding through biological stimuli within your body (more accurately, your brain). Getting a bonus language based on your bloodline choice in that sense doesn't make any. (It doesn't make dollars, either.) That being said, if a Sorcerer has to have 14 Intelligence in order to take, say, a Dragon Disciple Prestige feat tree, I'll be upset.

    I think they got rid of the whole passive benefits of bloodlines, which is, in my opinion, bad. Bloodline Arcanas in PF1 were very powerful, unique, and cool to possess, which greatly helped the Sorcerer's identity and power scale tremendously. Having an ability that lets you cast mind control or non-standard effects (like fear or sleep) on Undead is actually pretty strong and pretty cool. Yes, bloodline powers attempt to do this, but they're comparable to anything else every other class gets. Domain Powers, School Powers, Order Powers, Compositions/Bardic Performances, the list goes on. Bloodline Powers don't grant anything unique or interesting that other classes don't already have access to through their class powers.

    The argument for shifting up tiers of spells makes no sense. So if I hit 7th level that means I can never cast Bless as a spell? Congratulations, this concept is broken and I'm glad Paizo didn't do something this silly in their design.

    Sorcerers aren't cantrip gods (no class is, and it's not a very fair or appropriate class niche), and with that ruling combined with the Expanded Cantrips feat, you might as well just give them all cantrips when they're max level, which is stupid, silly, and in some cases broken. What's that, now I deal 5D10+10 without burning spell slots? Take that, fighters!


    Proficiency boosting is something that could work, but would need to be implemented across the board in all classes. Which would be fine, honestly. I do want classes to pick weapon groups instead of simply "a few specific weapons" or "all martial weapons."

    I still think access to two spell lists would be a cool and thematic way of setting them apart, while smoothing out the rough aspects of the spell lists frankly not being balanced against each other. With arcane as an anchor, it doesn't matter that divine is terrible, you can still make it more useful and get a lot of flavor out of it.

    The language isn't a power option by any means. It's just pure flavor, like parseltongue in HP, or any number of characters in fiction who can understand demonic once infected by demonic influence, etc. It's not necessary but it is fun.

    I'm not sure why you're arguing with me about innate / passive abilities when your stance seems to match mine, that the powers should come with passives rather than standing alone.

    I'm pretty sure you're deliberately and intentionally misinterpreting what I suggested re the spell slots, but no, you wouldn't lose the ability to cast bless. You would get more spell slots per spell level than a wizard, but you'd only have a few spell levels - but everything would be heightened to whatever slot you cast it in. So yeah, go ahead and cast bless as a level 4 spell, it will heighten to 4 without having to learn it again. This was, as admitted, the biggest change but it's not necessary, I think it's cool and a good way to give them their own casting style than other casters but it's not mandatory by any means.

    Who cares if you're dealing 5d10 at will at 20th level when the fighter is doing 6d12 at will at 20th level?


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    With how things stand now, my suggestion is to remove the sorcerer and give all other casters Arcanist-style casting.


    I always felt that charisma as a casting stat for a class that gets its power from bloodline is so out of the place, and doesn't make sense, what are you persuading your red blood cells to grant you power? lol
    Charisma makes sense for DND warlock, or someone with some kind of all powerful patron like cleric, actually it makes more sense for a cleric then wisdom, but for sorcerer it doesn't make sense in any way

    It should be a constitution, it makes perfect sense, how much you can extort your body and natural gift to cast. Sorcerer as an idea always struck me as a physical caster, someone who drains his vitality to cast, this is why I never played sorcerer, could not ever put that having sunny personality is somehow required to having innate supernatural powers, and that having high charisma always pigeonholes you to be guy with a silver tongue, which is actually as mentioned before more a requirement for being a priest and gaining people to follow your god, spreading the word of god, which god rewards with giving you more power, and thus charisma.

    This change alone would put sorcerer into more gishish idea, this would be a good baseline for an actual sorcerer that makes sense


    The Charisma attribute represents force of personality. Since the bloodline powers are innate to your personal feelings, you rely on your instinctual demands, which Charisma helps in drawing out.

    It also helps that Charisma also helps with keeping you attuned (and in-tune with) the magic of Golarion, implying that sorcery is done more through having the personal ambition to will the magic out from your body and soul.


    Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    I personally generally consider CHA to be a good match for sorcerers as their casting statistic. The link to your heritage granting your will to be able to cause things to happen seems firmly in place.

    However, you talking about having CON being a casting stat for a sorcerer was initially like no way, it is a physical stat, it shouldn't convert into a casting stat. However, as I considered it, I actually could imagine a potential option for Vital or Occult sorcerers could take as a starting (original style Archetype) that would make the class's primary attribute CON (the only existing one) and would turn it into its casting spellcasting stat. Spellcating rolls related to their personal spellcasting would be tied to a new custom skill called Innate Magic, and would be tied to CON. It would be used to learn new spells, or countering known spells. However it would not be able to be used for historical/general knowledge of the Occult/Nature spells as used by others, or items.

    I sort of wonder if casting spells, in addition to costing slots, should cost HP. But give them a natural healing of 1hp x level x hour. Casting a spell might cost a number of HP equal to the level of the spell slot.

    The idea reminds me a little of one of the sorcerers in the Nightglass novel, who literally was using his own blood in his veins as a material component to power his spells. (not what I think most often is associated, power, coming from an individual's bloodline/ancestry, not the literal blood flowing in their veins)

    Again, I prefer Sorcerer's keyed of CHA, but I could definitely have fun seeing a limited option that would flip it over to CON. Might have fun with some sort of necromantic blood sorcerer like that with occult spells, or a sort of nature/life sorcerer powered by their own life.

    A potential option for a tied feat to it might allow such a sorcerer to boost the power of a spell slot up one spell level via metamagic, by accepting a fatigued condition for the duration of the spell. (minimum of end of their next turn)

    Anyway prompts some interesting ideas.

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