Like a wizard, a sorcerer is an arcane spellcaster. Though his selection of spells is more limited than that of a wizard, the sorcerer's ability to choose spells on the fly makes him extremely versatile and quite deadly.
The Pros and Cons of a Sorcerer
Sorcerers have a natural talent for casting arcane spells, thanks (some say) to the draconic blood flowing in their veins. Whatever their origins, these characters are paradoxes, gaining great tactical flexibility from their mastery of only a limited number of spells.
When you chose a sorcerer, you gain access to a small number of arcane spells. When chosen with care, a sorcerer's spells are sufficient to deal with nearly any situation. However, the character has other resources available as well. Below are several assets you have going for you when you play a sorcerer.
Sorcerers pay a heavy price for their spellcasting abilities. Here are a few of the disadvantages you should keep in mind if you're considering a sorcerer character.
Playing a Classy Sorcerer
Great sorcerers usually use the following techniques. So if you're playing a sorcerer, try to incorporate them into your strategy.
Just because you don't have to choose spells every day doesn't mean you don't have to think ahead. When choosing your personal repertoire of spells, try to make selections that will help you deal with as many different kinds of situations as possible. It's hard to go wrong with spells that deal damage, but try to pick spells that deal different kinds of damage or use different kinds of energy. It might seem like a fun idea to become a "fire sorcerer," but when a red dragon (or some other creature that's immune to fire) comes along, you'll wish you hadn't limited yourself so much. It also pays to know a few spells for travel, defense, and miscellaneous tasks. And because your selection is so limited, try to concentrate on spells that you can use in several different ways. The polymorph spell, for example, allows you to assume a variety of forms with which to meet numerous different challenges. The various wall spells can be similarly versatile.
Although you're an arcane spellcaster, spells aren't the only tools you have at your disposal. A few weapons, alchemical items, and other equipment can greatly expand your combat options, so keep an eye out for potential additions to your arsenal.
Because of your low hit points and poor Armor Class, you are among your party's most vulnerable members. So make sure that you have a good place in the party's marching order -- preferably in the middle, so that at least one ally always stands between you and your foes.
Remember Your Friends
The sheer power you command as a sorcerer can make you cocky. In truth, however, physical attacks can defeat you pretty quickly, so you need to stick close to allies who can protect you. Furthermore, a spell isn't always the best way to solve a problem -- sometimes it's best to let other characters handle the situation in their own ways.
The Party's Front Line: Your party's more heavily armored individuals (particularly fighters and paladins) form a fighting line that keeps enemies away from you. So be ready to support them with spells in case they get into trouble. And when casting your spells, be careful to aim them so that your friends aren't caught in their destructive effects. Nothing wears out your welcome faster than misaimed spells that hurt friends as well as foes.
Other Spellcasters: You probably aren't the only spellcaster in your party, but you may well have the smallest selection of spells available to you on any given day. So try to make your fellow spellcasters aware of the spells you have so that they can make selections that cover the gaps in your capabilities. If your personal repertoire is primarily offensive, however, don't expect other spellcasters to let you have all the fun blasting the opposition. Instead, work out ways to coordinate your attack spells. Perhaps you and another spellcaster can work together to blanket the opposition with area spells, or perhaps one of you can use area spells while another uses targeted spells to take out the enemy leaders or pick off cripples.
Some Key Equipment
As a sorcerer, your spells are more important to you than your gear. Nevertheless, a few pieces of the right equipment can make your career longer and happier.
About the Author
Skip Williams keeps busy with freelance projects for several different game companies, and he served as the sage of Dragon Magazine for eighteen years. Skip is a codesigner of the D&D 3rd edition game and the chief architect of the Monster Manual. When not devising swift and cruel deaths for player characters, Skip putters in his kitchen or garden (rabbits and deer are not Skip's friends) or works on repairing and improving the century-old farmhouse that he shares with his wife, Penny, and a growing menagerie of pets.
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