View Full Version : [3.5] New Player, Looking for Some Advice

2009-06-13, 12:14 AM
So I've been lurking around on here for quite awhile, and I'm finally getting my first chance to actually play D&D (3.5). I've read a fair amount of the books, but that's not the same as actual experience, eh? :smalltongue:

So I'm looking for some advice for someone new to the game, either general or specifically for playing Sorcerer. Thanks in advance for your time. :smallbiggrin:

2009-06-13, 12:17 AM
Make sure your damaging spells do different types of damage, that way if your target is immune to one or more types you still have something to hit it with.

2009-06-13, 12:27 AM
Don't pick your spells so that all of them are damage dealing either. Have them do all sorts of things: At low levels sleep can be very useful, or color spray. Neither does damage, but both can win a fight.

2009-06-13, 12:31 AM
If you have the books Orbs are great.

And Mage Armor is your friend.

2009-06-13, 12:33 AM
What level are you playing at?

What books do you have access to?

What kind of advice are you looking for; mechanical optimisation or RP? (Ie, do you want advice on how to kill monsters better, or suggestions for how to roleplay your character?)

- Saph

Olo Demonsbane
2009-06-13, 12:37 AM
I summon...Tidesinger and his Sorcerer thread!!! :smalltongue:

But seriously, the key goal is to have fun. I know that sounds like really basic advice, but a boring victory is worse than a satisfying Total Party Kill.

As a sorcerer, choose spells that have the most utility AND power. Choose things that have multiple uses and dont duplicate anything else in your list. For example, if you are choosing between Expeditious Retreat and Mount, notice that Mount has a longer duration and you can do more things with it (hide behind a horse, use it to carry things, etc.). Because of this, choose Mount.

But overall, just have fun with your first game. Welcome to the wonderfull world of Dnd, we hope you enjoy your stay :smallsmile:

Necrus Philius
2009-06-13, 12:40 AM
Since you've read the books here's a piece of advice to use, figure out which spells look the coolest or are the most impressive to you. Or just generally how you want your character to react so as a sorcerer pick more verbal spells if he's a talker, or spells with no verbal component if he's the silent type.

2009-06-13, 01:17 AM
We're starting at Lv1, using the default campaign, and we only have the PHB, DMG, MM, and Spell Compendium. And I was just looking for general how-to-play-Sorcerer advice, I know how to RP. :P

Keld Denar
2009-06-13, 01:30 AM
Required reading:

Directed at wizards, but applicable to sorcerers as well.
Treantmonk20's Guide to being GOD (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=956548)
LogicNinja's Guide to being Batman (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18500)

Sorcerer Spell Selection Guide (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=765195)
Alastar's Sorcerer Guide (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1005059)

How's that for a start?

2009-06-13, 01:37 AM
At level 1 you should reasonably expect three to four fights per day, which means you can blow a 1st level spell at least once per fight. Unfortunately your spells known will harm you quite a bit. You're going to want spells that are useful against all types of things. Like Grease, Magic Missile, Shocking Grasp or Sleep. Alternatively, you could try and use spells that will last over a number of rounds like the aforementioned Grease, Sleep, Chill Touch or Color Spray.

Finally, your longspear will be your bread-and-butter until at least level 3. You should only be 1-2 behind the fighter for to-hit rolls, so feel free to get behind him and stab his foes with your spear. You won't always have magic at this level so you may want to invest in a riding dog to pick up the slack when you're out of spells. Later on you'll be able to blow spells for the most ridiculous things but right now you'll probably only cast a spell once or twice per battle.

2009-06-13, 01:55 AM
At level 1.... you will be VERY VERY squishy, have almost no magic, and not really have much else to contribute. Almost everyone else will be in just about the same situation though, so here's a few things that might help....

1) You don't have enough spells to get magical defences worth having, and you don't have enough gold to get the few armours that work for arcane casters (mithral shields, Twilight Mithral Chain Shirt). Also, if you take a hit, you're probably going down hard. Solution: move actions. Newbies often forget that they get a move action and a standard action every turn, and that almost all spells you'll be using are standard actions to cast. Use your move actions to proactively keep distance (and preferably allies) between you and any enemies.

2) Enemies who are next to you can take a free attack if you cast a spell, or take a normal move action. This is liable to be lethal, as mentioned above. Solution: on any turn in which you don't otherwise move, you can take a "five foot step", giving you just enough space to avoid those extra attacks. Picture the mage frantically backpeddling as goblins swarm him, and you'll be near enough. Same thing goes for ranged attacks, by the way.

3) Speaking of ranged attacks, you will almost certainly not have enough spells to cover your turns. Invest in a ranged weapon, and treat it like a kind of whimpy spell that you can use indefinitely. Be warned that loading a sling or light crossbow consumes your move action for the turn, and loading a heavy crossbow consumes a whole turn in which you can't do anything else (except 5-foot-step). Javelins have much shorter range but keep you mobile, and add your Strength modifier (if any) to damage. Spears have an even shorter range, but can be used to stab things in a pinch. Throwing daggers are pretty sub-optimal for you, but are cheap and light and make for a cool visual. Choose wisely! Oh, and remember that the range listed isn't a hard limit, it's just how far you can go before you start taking penalties.

2009-06-13, 04:39 AM
We're starting at Lv1, using the default campaign, and we only have the PHB, DMG, MM, and Spell Compendium. And I was just looking for general how-to-play-Sorcerer advice, I know how to RP. :P

Well then:

More than any other class, a sorcerer is defined by their spells known. You get very few at low levels, which means you have to think carefully about your picks.

I like to split spells into attack, defence, and utility categories, and have a mix of all three. Unfortunately at levels 1 and 2, you're only going to have two 1st-level spells known, which means your options are going to be sharply limited. You can't cover all your bases, so you're going to have to decide what to focus on.

My personal favourite choice is to go for mage armour and colour spray. This gives you a big gun, and some defence capability (just make sure you bring your armour up before the fight starts, not after). If you have a Rogue in the party, grease is a good alternative. The last possibility is sleep, but it has the major disadvantage of a 1-round casting time, which is like painting a target on your forehead to all intelligent enemies.

The alternative is to take two attack spells, say grease and sleep, and no defence at all, and rely on hiding and movement to stay away from enemies. This gives you more options, but also makes you utterly squishy. Not recommended unless you know what you're doing.

Spells not to take: Don't use damage spells like shocking grasp and magic missile, because at level 1 they completely suck. Don't use lesser orbs, because you'll have trouble hitting and won't do anything much even if you do. Don't take utility spells like mount and expeditious retreat, you don't have the space. In fact, taking practically anything except the four spells I listed earlier is a dubious idea for Sorcerers, because you have such a horribly small number of spells known that you don't even have enough room for the good spells, much less the average ones.

As you level up you'll be able to diversify, and as your spells known list increase you'll start to be able to afford a bit more choice in what you pick. Your first priority, though, is surviving levels 1 and 2. Good luck!

- Saph

2009-06-13, 04:48 AM
Hmm.. If you've got a decent Dex then Grease + Crossbow. You'll do -some- damage, your foes will be flat-footed against your attacks and the attacks of your allies unless they've got ranks in Balance and the Rogue of the party will love you.

Keld Denar
2009-06-13, 05:26 AM
Heck, you can pretty much ignore damage spells period if you nab Draconic Herritage + Draconic Breath. Now you can turn all of your spells into nukes, which means you don't have to know very many nukes. I like Copper or Black, depending on alignment, simply because Line is easiest to not hit your allies, and Acid is the least resisted element next to Sonic. That frees up nearly all of you spells known for BC, utility, and debuff. You can also double dip and take metabreath spells like Blinding Breath (SpC), which turn your new found breath weapon into a double threat. Double threats are very good because honestly, who doesn't like a little debuff mixed with their damage?

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-06-13, 05:30 AM
I summon...Tidesinger and his Sorcerer thread!!! :smalltongue:

How about... the other (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1196605) sorcerer guide?

Tempest Fennac
2009-06-13, 07:41 AM
I don't know which books you have access to, but http://crystalkeep.com/d20/ could be useful (as well as the Orb spells, there are several other blasty Conjuration spells in the Sorcerer Spell file which ignore Spell Resistance).

2009-06-13, 10:06 AM
As a sorcerer, choose spells that have the most utility AND power. Choose things that have multiple uses and dont duplicate anything else in your list. For example, if you are choosing between Expeditious Retreat and Mount, notice that Mount has a longer duration and you can do more things with it (hide behind a horse, use it to carry things, etc.). Because of this, choose Mount.

Though it should be mentioned that you can get both as a wand... and then pick phantom steed later (wich has a maximum speed of 240 ft. and can fly)... or you use shadow conjuration to make one.

If your equipment options are limited though (so in other words: your DM won't let you buy wands at ye olde magic item shop), I agree... either get Swift Expenditious Retreat or Mount. Theres another advantage to mount besides the ones you mentioned - if you need to go somewhere fast as a party and you don't have horses... make mounts for everybody. (This is one of the times where you'll be really happy you decided to be a sorcerer and not a wizard.)

Level 1 sorcerer spells.... I've recently been thinking about this.
I believe Silent Image is a must. Your first - and for a long time your only defensive spell.
The other one I'd pick would be Enlarge Person. Its crazy flexible.
Lets look at what it does:
1.) Increase your fighters damage (next bigger hit dice for his weapon, +2 str)
2.) Give your fighter reach.
3.) Icrease your fighters size. Wich gives you some battlefield control (it gets harder for enemys to charge you)
But, will it be useful against flying enemys? Yupp. If your fighter has a ranged weapon. A longbows damage will go up from 1d8 (avg. 4.5) to 2d6 (avg. 7).

Looking at some other lvl 1 spells...
Sleep is nice. Can be gamewinner, when your party is up against, say, 4 orcs. Against larger groups of enemys though, one enemy unaffected by sleep can wake up the others (waking up 1 creature is a standard action, but the awoken enemys also get actions... so they'll basically make a wake-up chain).
A single enemy with more than 4 hd will also be unaffected. A Huge Monstrous Centipede has 6hd and a CR of 2. So, yupp. Sleep might become useless as early as level 2.
Did I mention that alot of enemys are immune to mind-affecting effects? I.e. Undead are immune to sleep effects and zombies and skelletons are a very common lowlevel-encounter.
And of course, even those not immune still get to make a saving throw. Sure, theyr saves may suck, but still. Enemys don't get to make a saving throw against you enlarging your fighter.

Color spray has a few advantages over Sleep, but has a few new disadvantages.
You'll even affect enemys with more than 5 hd for some effect, and those below that are royally screwed. Enemys that you didn't hit with color spray/made theyr save still can't help those that got sprayed in any way.
Undead, as usual, still don't care about your shenanigans though.
The new disadvantage is... 15 ft range. You'll have to get unconfortably close and then hope that noone makes his save.
Gives the words spray and pray a entirely new meaning.
Color spray is a cone - that can be a disadvantage as well as a advantage.
For one, you can hit a huge number of enemys with no HD limit. On the other hand... if your fighter should be in the middle of those enemys, there'll be a friendly fire accident.
I still think its a better choice than Sleep though, and once you get flight alot of its problems are not that big of a problem anymore.

Generally what spells you'll choose depends alot on at what level you'll start.
If you start at level 3 or above, get the enlarge person on a wand and learn something else instead. Sure, it'll only have 1 minute duration... but thats 10 rounds. Thats plenty.
Take that as a general hint... if a spell doesn't scale well with level, don't take it. Take it in a wand.
Fly for example, is just fine in a wand.
Now Phantom Steed on the other hand... if your DM doesn't allow you to use Shadow Conjuration to get a Phantom Steed, take it as a regular spell.
Still get that wand of Fly, just in case someone ever blasts your shadowhorsie (its squishy, after all).

Sorcerer guides:
Shadowcraft Mage Sorcerer build:

Doc Roc
2009-06-13, 10:19 AM
:: peeps in :: I'd like to clarify that while I'm the basic progenitor of the CO Cabal guide, about 70% of the work done on it isn't mine. I'm basically just the editor. We're also looking for help, or a campaign diary to fill the remaining portion of the guide out. So if things go well, and you find the Cabal's work helpful, please, let us know. We'd love to feature your adventurous romp.

2009-06-13, 03:36 PM
I agree with everyone who recommended Grease. It can be a very versatile spell. You can grease enemy weapons, grease the floor in front of your charging enemy, or grease your friends to help them escape from grapples. I was in a ninth level campaign where we defeated hordes of zombies thanks, in part, to Grease.