Spellcasters with Attitude: Sorcerers (RPG Tips)

Spell Casters with Attitude: sorcerer (RPG Tips) - overview of the TTRPG sorcerer class - how to play a sorcerer rpg spellcaster - banner

The sorcerer is traditionally the most mysterious of all spellcasters, with a power that comes from within. Unlike wizards and clerics who study to learn their craft, sorcerers are born with an innate ability to control arcane energies. This makes them far more versatile than other magic-users, but also means they have less control over their powers. Sorcerers are often portrayed as either mad geniuses or young prodigies; either way, they’re always the first one you want on your side in a fight!

In this article, Jared Emanuel, explores the mystical sorcerer class. Whether you’re playing Dungeons and Dragons (DnD), or other tabletop RPGs, the sorcerer is a powerful class.

An Introduction to Magic: Attitude!

Magic is one of the cornerstones of our favorite TTRPGs. But with only 5 or 6 differences in mechanical design between these magical classes, and the large overlap of spells and feats that any spell caster can use; begs the question: what is the difference between a Wizard and a Bard? Or a Druid and Warlock? Attitude is the answer! The following prompts are meant to get players and GMs thinking about characteristics that you can apply to your magical warriors!

Spell Casters with Attitude: sorcerer (RPG Tips) - overview of the TTRPG sorcerer class - how to play a sorcerer rpg spellcaster - D20 mage miniature
Mages, sorcerers, wizards, spellcasters…. what a world we play in!

What is a Sorcerer?

The stereotypical sorcerer is depicted in their youth, and they are filled with great magical potential and are victim of a great secret. But, a sorcerer can be almost anything. An ancestor had a dalliance with a great and powerful entity, resulting in the birth of a living weapon. Magic is in their blood.

A typical sorcerer seeks a greater understanding of themselves. A sorcerer may not feel in control of their own life. Decisions made by an ancestor have resulted in questions, powers, and consequences they did not ask for.

From the moment they are born they are surrounded by great power and great danger. Their innate magical abilities are a double edged sword. Learning how to control this power, is of utmost importance. Delight can suddenly turn to despair if a sorcerer lacks the ability to control the raw magic within.

The Sorcerer Class in a Nutshell

  • No need to prepare spells ahead of time
  • Higher resistance against most forms of damage
  • Individual spell casting means more utility in battle
  • Charisma is primary ability score of sorcerers
  • Can use simple weapons and armor to a degree, but not proficient in either type without focus
  • Restricted to a limited number of spells per day given your current level
  • Not as much arcane spell knowledge compared to wizards

A Sorcerer’s Strength

From the moment a sorcerer is born, they have obvious magical talent. They do not need to study or work hard to gain more power; Because as they gain experience, the power in their blood naturally increases.

A sorcerer does need to study a book to prepare their spells; Nor do they need to pray to any deity. They have the luxury of casting spells when they will it. The blood of their great magical ancestor increases an average spell into an extraordinary spell.

For example; the spawn of a red dragon, or fire genie, or devil does not just cast a basic fireball; Instead they are able to subconsciously increase the effects of the spell, siphon some of that magic and use it to increase their own abilities and resistances. They can do things with magic on an instinctual level.

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The benefits of their heritage may not just be limited to a single magical ancestor. The mortal half of their family must have been exceptional in their own right to have such an intimate encounter with a supernatural, arcane, or divine being.

The sorcerer is likely to inherit some of that charm, or beauty, or wealth from their mortal parentage. Or perhaps their mortal parent made a terrible pact that has doomed their child for life as a powerful outsider. The sorcerer is raised in adverse circumstances because they are surrounded by mystery, and have the daunting task of living up to a higher standard.

A Sorcerer’s Weakness

A sorcerer typically is blessed with one magical ancestor. That is 100% more magical ancestors than 99% of mortals. This is undoubtedly a point of pride for many sorcerers. Pride that can veer into sheer arrogance if left unchecked.

Arrogance and power are a dangerous combination especially when combined with ignorance. They don’t use their wisdom or intelligence to cast magic, they use their feelings. Some sorcerer’s may not know the full extent of what they are capable of. This can lead them to harm those close to them.

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Fire, fire, fire.

Furthermore, they are magically and genetically predisposed to certain spells and skills. For instance most fish would have terrible time learning to walk. Apply this idea to a sorcerer with a fiendish bloodline learning how to perform angelic spells. It would be difficult, but not impossible.

A Sorcerer’s Folly

A sorcerer does not need to be smart or wise to learn magic. They have a raw charisma that oozes out of them. They have the aura of a person that has not had to work hard to get what they want. But this a double edged sword.

They may not need work hard to get what they want, but they also get more than they asked for. There must be some repercussion for their parents cosmic tryst. Dally with a king of the gods and you may risk the ire of their jealous queen. The sorcerer is plagued with adversity because of the sins of their parents.

The source of the conflict may not be immediately obvious to the sorcerer and they need to discover for themselves the source of all of their pain.

A Sorcerer’s Fear

Odds are a first generation sorcerer did not grow up in a two parent household. Growing up not knowing who the other parent is can be very challenging. It is a situation beyond a child’s control.

Any normal child in that situation would undoubtedly have strong feelings about the situation. Feelings are mysterious and at times difficult to predict or control. Now add magic to mix and you have living, breathing weapon. How would a non magical parent raise a super powered child?

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Parents can make mistakes, and having a child that can harm you and everyone around them would really heighten the stakes. As an adult, a sorcerer may still have that lingering anxiety and frustration. A sorcerer maybe afraid to never understand their heritage, never meet that parent, never have complete control over their powers or their lives.

A Sorcerer’s Fight

Sorcerer’s are born fighting at an early age. They must learn to control their great magical powers while at the same time try to solve the mystery that surrounds their birth. The way to combat both of these obstacles invariably leads them down the same path.

The sorcerer, for better or worse, has a desperate desire to meet their magical ancestors. The more powerful the ancestor, the more obstacles and challenges that are in the sorcerer’s way.

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Mystical and versatile, sorcerers are whatever you feel they need to be. Use your instinct when creating (and playing) a sorcerer.

Overcoming these challenges, mastering their own abilities, and finally meeting their ancestor on their own terms are the keys to a sorcerer finally gaining control of their lives. Whether the quest be one of revenge or reconciliation, the sorcerer’s destiny is to confront their magical ancestor.

A Sorcerer’s Dream

Sorcerer’s have a mysterious and powerful ancestor that has a great impact on their lives. Even though they may not be as smart or wise than other casters they are usually more emotional, and struggle to control their power. Therefore a sorcerer starts their journey at a young age, in pursuit of discovering their magical ancestor.

Final Word

Ultimately, sorcerers have a lot of potential. They are a powerful and fun caster type. Operating through instinct and innate abilities, they are versatile and unpredictable. Indeed, many have a hard time controlling their powers, so be careful when playing them. They are like trying to use a flaming sword. Swing away and apply the pointy end, but don’t burn yourself!

I hope you guys enjoyed this article. Don’t forget to read my next article about other casters, Spellcasters with Attitude: Wizards.

Are you playing a sorcerer? Do you have that mystical streak in TTRPGs? I’m always looking for new ideas so please share them with me in the comments below!

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